Israel’s decision to remove the stems of tomatoes sent to the occupied West Bank from the Kerm Abu Salim border gate in southeast Gaza drew a reaction from farmers and traders in Gaza.
Gaza farmers said that if the tomato stalks are removed, they will rot in the 3-day period between harvest and the West Bank, and the buyers did not agree to this.
Farmers and traders argued that Israel aims to pressure them and destroy Gaza’s crops with this condition, making exports impossible.
Speaking to AA correspondent, trader Mohammed al-Astal (57) said after a 45-day hiatus, commercial crossings were re-authorized from the border post and they dispatched the trucks of tomatoes they loaded from Gaza into the West Bank, but the Israeli authorities did not allow the trucks to pass.
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Stating that Israel sold around 6,000 cans of tomatoes to the West Bank before its latest attacks, Astal expressed their shock at the condition imposed after the border gate opened.
A HANDFUL OF TOMATO THREATENS ISRAL’S SAFETY?
Noting that tomatoes cannot be sold without stems in the West Bank and that they will deteriorate immediately, Astal said, “If Israel allows us to send tomatoes to the West Bank on the day we collect them, we will accept this condition. pose a security threat. Israel can export tomatoes with stems, but why can’t we?
Stressing that Palestinians should be able to sell their own produce of the same quality that Israel sells high-quality vegetables and fruits in the West Bank and Gaza, Astal said that preventing exports and selling tomatoes at high prices very low in the domestic market would put them in great financial harm.
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Astal demanded that farmers be allowed to export in order to cover the property damage they suffered during and after the Israeli attacks and called on relevant institutions to take action on this issue.
TOMATO ROOT ON THE BRANCH
Tomatoes that Gaza farmer Mohammed al-Astal (53) grew on his 30 acres of land rotted on the branch due to the low price and the export ban.
Stating that he has not been able to export tomatoes since the latest attacks started, Astal said they started preparations with the opening of the border post, but this time the condition for the tomatoes to be stemless has been introduced.
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Noting that the farmers do not pick their tomatoes for this reason and that the harvest rots on the branch, Astal said, “We do not export to a foreign country, but to the Palestinian territories. It is of course our right. he said.
Noting that the prices of tomatoes in Gaza have fallen a lot and that the farmers could not even pay the daily wages of the workers to collect the harvest, let alone the costs of fertilizer, irrigation and spraying, Astal added that 70 workers working for him have become unemployed. because of the decision taken by Israel.