Participating in a global economy isn’t easy when your only border is fenced off and your coast is perpetually blockaded. This has brought trade in the Gaza Strip to a virtual standstill, with no goods exports allowed out of the nation in the last five years.
Today, however, Israel surprised the world by allowing a single truck full of wool clothing made in Gaza to pass through the border crossing. The clothing will eventually makes its way to Britain via sea, though will have to pass through an Israeli port since ships are forbidden from entering Gaza.
Before the blockade, Gaza exported 40-50 trucks of goods per day, mostly produce. A tiny shipment of furniture was allowed out in February, and that was the last time goods were allowed out. Israeli officials are mum on whether or not future exports will be allowed.
In the end it may not be up to them. The blockade has long been enforced not just in Israel, but in Egypt as well. The current leading party in Egypt’s parliament wants to reopen the Gaza border to commerce, but is facing an uphill battle with the military junta. The enormous popularity of the Freedom and Justice Party, coupled with public opposition to the blockade, is likely to force the junta to relent eventually.