The article by Isabel Kershner is about the antiseptically pragmatic movement of food and medical supplies into Gaza from Israel despite both governments’ opposition to recognizing each other.

For the past month, since the Islamic militants of Hamas took over the Gaza Strip, Israel has kept the main commercial crossing point at Karni shuttered, squeezing the life out of the limp Gazan economy. Israel bans contact with Hamas, and Hamas seeks Israel’s destruction, making border crossing etiquette more precarious than elsewhere.

Yet at this small crossing near the Egyptian border on Wednesday, between mortar attacks by Hamas and other militants, about 20 truckloads of milk products, meat, medicines and eggs passed from Israel into Gaza, part of the effort to keep basic commodities reaching the 1.5 million Palestinians of the largely isolated strip. Most of the supplies are not humanitarian relief, but are ordered by Palestinian merchants from Israeli suppliers, relying on contacts built up over years.

The mechanics of the crossover manage to answer Israel’s security needs while avoiding contact with Hamas. At Kerem Shalom, Israeli trucks transfer their goods to what Israeli military officials describe as a “sterile” Palestinian truck. Driven by a carefully vetted Palestinian driver, the truck never leaves the terminal, carrying the goods to the Palestinian side, where they are transferred onto ordinary Palestinian trucks that drive into Gaza.

I thought I read last week that Hamas banned all produce purchases from Israel. I guess not.

Isn’t it strange that commerce goes on even as the mortar and Qassem attacks continue?

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  • well, no it is not so strange. Sharon’s original design for the disengagement plan was based on total economic separation until his advisers told him that since Israel controls the water and has the nearest international port and airport, Gaza will starve and Israel would be blamed for starving out the Palestinians. So he scrapped that very important item from the agenda. So Gaza is inextricably connected to Israel, whether Israel likes it or not and it is also a very plausible proof for those who clamor for a “one-state” solution that the land is indivisible as it is so economically. Ciau.


    The Palestinians, Alone
    Khaled Abu Toameh

    Some 6,000 Palestinians have been stranded for the past month on the Egyptian side of the border with the Gaza Strip because of the closure of the Rafah border crossing.

    The terminal was closed after the European monitors who had operated there for the past two years left their jobs following Hamas’s takeover of the Gaza Strip in mid-June.

    At least 20 of these Palestinian travelers have died either of illness or other causes while waiting on the Egyptian side. Most of them are complaining that the Egyptian authorities are not doing anything to alleviate their suffering.

    Attempts by Israel to find a solution to this humanitarian crisis have been foiled by both Fatah and Hamas, who turned down an Israeli offer to help the Palestinians return home through the Israeli-controlled border crossing at Kerem Shalom.

    Meanwhile, not a single Arab country has come forth to help the marooned Palestinians. Egyptian and Palestinian families living along the border have been hosting some of them, but the majority, including women and children, are forced to sleep in mosques and on sidewalks.

    “The Arabs don’t care about us,” Muhammed Haj Jamil, a university student who was on his way home from the Gulf, told me in a phone interview.

    “The Arabs hate the Palestinians. The Egyptians are treating us as if we were terrorists. Even the Jews treat us better than most Arabs.”

    And he’s absolutely right. Most of the Arab countries stopped providing the Palestinians with financial aid when Yasser Arafat and the PLO openly supported Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait in 1990. Since then, the Palestinians are almost entirely dependent on handouts from the U.S. and Europe.


  • Gee, if someone were trying so hard to kill me and my family, darned if I wouldn’t be hard pressed to quit sending him food packages….

  • Shimshon, you missed the point. The land is certainly divisible and a complete end to provisions for the Palestinians by Israel is also entirely possible. It isn’t happening because it’s not in the interests of anybody for this to happen.

  • People it is about money, not ideas. Read the article again. Who is getting the food in? It is the working class farmers and merchants on the Israeli side sending it to merchants and grocers on the Palestinian side. No governments, just the civil society. This has nothing to do with politics, it is all about the money.

  • That’s what I thought. I thought produce was banned. If they are boycotting the Israelis, the Israelis are being foolish in not taking the opportunity to cut off Gaza entirely. This isn’t about commerce, this is about allowing Hamas to dictate the terms of the situation and that can’t be allowed to happen.

  • the middle, well, actually it is very much in my interest for Israel to split away from the Palestinians and do it also economically so that the two halves would heal without each others’ intervention (IDF for the Palestinians, the Qassam Rockets and suicide bombers for the Israelis). I agree with you that it is possible. But to make it work there has to be an alternative source wherefrom to derive water for the Gazans in Hamastan, and also another produce trading route, which would either be Jordan or Egypt, skipping over Israel. Egypt is too far away, although with today’s techonology everything is viable. I get fresh avocados in a grocary store across the street during winter here in NY. Everything is possible. Everything is doable. But I think the Palestinians do not want to, in the long run, split away from Israel, because they still want it all. Good Shabbos.

  • oop, my bad — a couple more paragraphs on, Kersner wrote:

    “But when it comes to food, rather than principle, Hamas is proving itself pragmatic as well. On Sunday, Palestinian merchants, trying to press Israel to reopen Karni, told the Israelis that Hamas had barred the import of Israeli fruit. But by Wednesday, the Israeli fruit was ordered again. “Hamas does not want to lose the private sector,” a Gaza businessman explained.”

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