By Nour Abu Aisha
GAZA CITY, Palestine (AA) - Palestinian traders in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday refused to receive incoming commodity shipments at the Kerem Shalom (Karem Abu Salem) border crossing to protest the strip’s worsening economic conditions and draconian Israeli security measures.
Gaza’s only functioning commercial crossing, Kerem Shalom links the strip -- which for 10 years has groaned under a crippling Israeli/Egyptian embargo -- to Israel.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Maher al-Tabaa, a spokesman for Gaza’s private sector, said that almost all of Gaza’s traders and businessmen had jointly decided not to receive incoming goods on Tuesday.
The move, he said, was intended to deliver the message that “the time has come to lift the blockade on Gaza”.
Israel regulates all commercial traffic through the crossing, typically subjecting it to stringent security measures with the ostensible aim of preventing commodities with military uses from entering the strip.
“By refusing to pick up incoming goods for one day we will force the international community to acknowledge Gaza’s dire economic situation… and the impediments we face here at the crossing,” al-Tabaa said.
Israeli security measures, he explained, include barring certain goods from entry, months-long delays, and preventing Gazans from exporting agricultural and industrial products through Kerem Shalom.
Home to more than two million Palestinians, the Gaza Strip has groaned under the Israeli/Egyptian embargo since 2007, when Hamas wrested control of the coastal enclave from forces loyal to the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority.