General Manager Ilan Eshel of the Israel Fruit Growers' Association said, Thursday, that the annual export of apples from the Golan Heights to neighboring Syria will not take place. He explained the association came to the reluctant decision because sectarian fighting on the other side of the border and economic conditions in Syria would not allow the orderly export of the fruit and payment for it.
Eshel contrasted the Syrian situation with that in Hamas-controlled Gaza, where tight relations of trust are developing to the point where Gaza purchasing agents visit the Israeli packing houses and plantations to examine the fruit before buying it. He said this year's deliveries to Gaza could range between 50,000 and 60,000 metric tons with a value of 120 million shekels, depending on the agricultural output and the security situation. Gaza represents about ten percent of the fruit market. In addition to apples, Israel supplies Gaza with bananas, mangos, avocados, peaches and apricots.