The IDF will permit the export of furniture, textiles and iron from the Gaza Strip for sale in Israel the first time since 2007, an NGO said Monday.
The Coordinator for Government Activities in the Territories — the Defense Ministry unit responsible for civil affairs in the West Bank and Gaza — proposed the move in an effort to improve the economy of the Palestinian enclave and raise the employment rate, Israel Radio reported.
It is slated to go into effect October 7.
Gisha, an NGO advocating freedom of movement for Palestinians, said in a statement that while the Gaza furniture industry has “tremendous potential for growth,” Israel’s limitations on the import of wood beams larger than one centimeter in width stifles production.
Earlier this year COGAT restricted the import of wood to the Gaza Strip after officials said it was being used to reinforce terror tunnels.
Hamas’s military wing recently raiding a large number of carpentry shops and woodworking factories throughout the Gaza Strip and confiscated enormous quantities of lumber, apparently to shore up tunnel building efforts, Palestinian sources said.
Hamas is suffering from a shortage of basic tunnel-building materials such as wood, which is used to line the inside of its tunnels. The seizure was apparently intended to replenish the organization’s supply.
Gisha said that while Gazan industries are eager to break into the Israeli market, which is a “mutually beneficial, shared interest,” until they’re allowed raw materials “limited moves like this one… [to] improve Gaza’s economy sound more like a pipe dream.”
In March of this year, Israeli authorities allowed the import of Gaza produce for the first time since Hamas seized control of the territory in 2007.
Some 27 tons of tomatoes and five tons of eggplants were cleared to leave Gaza for Israel, Palestinian officials and Gaza merchants said in March.