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The way merchandise is being transferred from Israel to the Gaza Strip

September 29, 2014

The process of transference of goods between Israel and the Palestinians is being carried out without any direct contact between the Israeli sellers and the Gaza buyers.

The course of the procedure goes as follows. The first step is that the Lorries of the Israeli transport companies carry the goods to the Keren Shalom checkpoint. When getting there, these download the merchandise pallets with the help of forklifts. Then, the goods are scanned by x-ray machinery and, at last, the Israeli Lorries leave the place. Lorries that belong to a Palestinian company that operates at the checkpoints pick up the merchandise and put it in special storage cells. At mid-day, the part of the checkpoint that is run by Israeli personnel closes and only then the Palestinian Lorries come in and proceed to upload the goods from the storage cells. Finally, the goods are transferred to the respective Palestinian businesses and stores.

The procedures that a Palestinian businessman who wants to buy merchandise from Israel draw a very long way before finally getting the goods into the Gaza market. At first, he shall register himself in the local Palestinian Chamber of Commerce, and/or to be an individual agent of a company. Otherwise, he has to build up a connection to the provider company and define the exact quantity he needs to purchase, always keeping it under the limitation of certain quotas determined by the Gaza Authority. After issuing the purchasing of the goods, the businessmen must present an invoice to the Palestinian Ministry of economy in Gaza and, consequently, to get its permission to import such goods into the territories. In parallel, the merchant must contact the Palestinian economic coordinator and indicate the kind of goods and the quantities he needs to acquire. This one will proceed conveying the given formulas by the businessmen to the administration of coordination of the Gaza Strip from the Israeli side (which represents a branch within the Israeli coordination department of the territories), in order to get as well the permission from Israel to pursue the importation of the goods into Gaza.

It should additionally be pointed out that certain goods require special coordination between the two sides, and that the time needed to get the Israeli permission may as well take longer than the usual two days it should take instead. These concrete goods include products like drugs, special machinery, and double use materials.  

If a Palestinian businessman from Gaza wants to enter the Israeli territories of the areas of Judea and Samaria he ought to fill in and comply by an extended set of rules that Israel requests (such as the proof of continuously being doing business in Israel and with international companies, reporting sales of over 100.000 shekel per year, and several additional security demands).

All of the abovementioned procedure applies to all regular businesses, and even more, they do not always take place, or exist at all, when there are security wise tense situations between Israel and the Palestinians.