Israel has allowed Gaza Strip to export locally-produced garments for the first time in five years. Reports coming from the besieged Palestinian territory said a truck carrying 2,000 pieces of clothing, predominantly wool, took the shipment headed to the UK to nearby sea port of Ashdod.
Sir Vincent Fean, the British consul general in Occupied Jerusalem, expressed joy over the surprise Israeli move. “I welcome…the news of the first export of textile goods from Gaza to the UK since 2007. The export of 2,000 garments from the Ashour Company, a leading knitwear producer in Gaza, to a UK outlet is a great success for Gazan business,” he said in a statement.
“This success was made possible by the technical and financial support provided by the UK Department for International Development through the Palestinian Facility for New Market Development (FNMD). In the past four years, the UK has provided support through FNMD to over 340 companies in Gaza to help them rebuild operations and expand their businesses, helping create jobs for over 1,600 Gazans,” he added.
British Minister for International Development Alan Duncan MP said: “Through trade, we can help Gaza rebuild its economy, providing opportunities for Gazans to pull themselves out of poverty and creating a safer and more secure environment for the Palestinians and for Israel.”
He added, “While I am pleased that the UK has supported this important development for Gazan business, it is my hope that we quickly reach a state where there is no longer a need for such assistance, because sustained exports from Gaza will be the norm.”
Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, which has a majority in the newly elected parliament and is expected to clinch the upcoming presidential elections, has given strong indications that it will facilitate trade with Gaza by opening the Rafah border for commerce.
Gaza is home to 1.7 million people and has been under tight embargo by both Israel and Egypt since the Islamist group Hamas took control of the coastal enclave in 2007.