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Hamas bans Israeli fruit imports after Gaza crossing closure Open in fullscreen

The New Arab

Hamas bans Israeli fruit imports after Gaza crossing closure

The Kerem Shalom crossing is Gaza's only commercial terminal. [Getty]

Date of publication: 11 July, 2018

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Israel has closed the Kerem Shalom crossing – the only commercial terminal with Gaza – to everything except essential humanitarian supplies.

Gaza's Ministry of Agriculture has banned the import of all Israeli fruit following Tel Aviv's decision to stop importing Palestinian produce from Gaza.

The Israeli decision on Monday was part of a raft of punitive measures imposed on Gaza in response to incendiary kites and balloons that have been flown into Israel over the last few months.

Israel said it was closing the Kerem Shalom crossing – the only commercial terminal with Gaza – to everything except essential humanitarian supplies.

It is unclear when the crossing will be reopened. The UN warned that it was "concerned about the consequences" of Israel's latest closure.

Gaza imported roughly 20 tonnes of Israeli fruit per day through the Kerem Shalom crossing before the closure, while exporting around 20 tonnes of vegetables to Israel, an official from Gaza's agricultural ministry said.

Israel's ban on fruit exports from Gaza will likely create a surplus leading to "considerable losses" for Gaza's farmers, the official told Anadolu Agency.

Israel and Egypt have maintained a blockade on Gaza for over a decade in an attempt to weaken Hamas. The blockade has caused widespread economic hardship.

UN officials and rights activists have repeatedly called for Israel to lift the blockade against Gaza, citing deteriorating humanitarian conditions.

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