B'Tselem welcomed today's security cabinet decision, to ease the export from the Gaza Strip. The organization expressed its hope that the change of policy stems from an understanding that Israel must stop using its control over the crossings with Gaza for collective punishment of its population.
Strawberries harvested for export in the Gaza Strip. Photo: Suhaib Salem, Reuters, 28 Nov. 2010.
The true test of this decision, however, is in its implementation. The closure of crossings and the virtual elimination of Gaza's foreign trade have paralyzed its economy almost completely, and recovery will be a slow process. In the past, even while allowing import and export, Israel placed arbitrary restrictions that impaired trade. Israel must take all necessary steps, subject to security restrictions, to allow the free flow of goods. Furthermore, Gazan businesses must be allowed to trade with the Israeli market, which formed an important share of Gaza's past.