Pressure From US Seen as Key to Allowing Footwear Into Strip
According to Palestinian officials, the Israeli government has made one of its most significant revisions to the Gaza blockade in three years, allowing the importation of shoes and certain types of clothes into the tiny enclave.
Israel has not allowed any shoes to be legally brought into the Gaza Strip since 2007, and officially cemented the ban in 2008 under the claim that shoes were a ‘dual use technology.’ This argument was based on claims that since militaries wear shoes as part of their uniforms, any shoes imported into the strip might be used as part of a military uniform. This same argument was made in the banning of many types of clothing.
For those who could afford it, this meant having to import shoes by way of the tunnels into Egypt, which regularly come under Israeli bombardment because they allow the importation of banned goods, from shoes to iPods to cars. For Gaza’s poor however, importation is not an option and they must make do with what they have or go without.
Officials say that the move is a concession by the Israeli government after pressure from the Obama Administration. The shoes will be allowed in later in the week, after the Passover holiday blockade is lifted. It is unclear if the move signals a semi-permanent end to the ban on shoes, or if the shipment will be a one-shot deal.
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