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Cut-Flowers in Gaza: A Special Report on the Impacts of Israeli Rights Violations on Gaza's Cut-Flower Business

12-04-2007 00:00

The site of rotting carnations is a common site in Gaza's flower sector.
Locally grown cut-flowers have withered in greenhouses as water supplies have dwindled; their yields have been undermined as the entry of vital imports has been delayed; and they have rotted en masse at Karni Crossing, the only point of exit for Palestinian goods to the outside world, which is routinely closed under Israeli orders.
Less than 18 months ago, under the general optimism of the 'disengagement' plan, many Palestinian farmers had high hopes for the expansion of Gaza's cut flower business.
Cut flowers, along with strawberries, constitute Gaza's top raw-goods export, and a valuable source of income to many thousands of Palestinian families living in the impoverished Gaza Strip.
It was imagined that the disengagement would bring additional land to Palestinian farmers, an end to Israeli incursions, and a reinvigorated economy.
In addition, it was hoped that with the November 15th 2005 Agreement of Movement and Access between the Government of Israel (GOI) and the Palestinian National Authority (PNA), and subsequent Israeli promises, Gaza's Crossing Points would open on a continuous basis for the export of Palestinian goods, such as cut flowers, to Egypt and Israel.
It was also hoped that Gaza's airport could be re-opened and a sea port developed with donor financial and technical assistance to allow more direct and efficient access of Gaza's goods to the rest of the world.
Yet despite the vital need for Israel to ease its closure policies, and its legal obligation for such action in both international law and, more limitedly, in Israel's own Agreements and promises, the GOI has failed to act in any meaningful way to end the siege it imposes on the Gaza Strip.
The siege dramatically limits the movements of goods (and people) to Israel, Egypt and the rest of the world.
Meanwhile, Israel has continued its military incursions into Gaza.
As a result, along with the vast majority of Gaza's economy, the cut flower business has suffered huge setbacks over the last 18 months, which have contributed to Gaza's alarming and ever-increasing poverty rate (which now stands at near 80 percent).
Al Mezan contends that many of the factors creating the huge obstacles undermining Gaza's economy are related to the continued Israeli moccupation of the Gaza Strip (and indeed the whole of the OPT), and violations of Palestinian most basic rights.
The focus on Gaza's cut-flower sector provides a case study of the impacts of Israel's rights violations and the potential for the international communty to intervene to protect Palestinians and their most basic rights.

Tags / #economic

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