Daily Israel Report

Gazans Import Dangers From Egypt, Israel Blocks Gaza Exports

Israel may ban the import of Gaza products into pre-1967 Israel due to concern about contamination from livestock brought into the area from Egypt
By Hana Levi Julian
First Publish: 2/4/2008, 11:53 AM

Israeli officials may ban the export of produce and other items from Gaza in the wake of a massive buying spree in Egypt by Palestinian Authority Arabs. The produce and livestock brought back from Egypt likely contain diseases not widespread in Israel.

The two-week Gazan Arab shopping bonanza started after Hamas terrorists blasted apart the border fence last month. The opened border, which Egyptian security forces only resealed Sunday, enabled hundreds of thousands of Gaza residents to flood the Egyptian side of the border town Rafiah and elsewhere in that country.

While in Egypt, Palestinian Authority residents of Gaza spent over $300 million in the course of less than two weeks, and according to Palestinian Authority veterinary services data, many of them purchased livestock.

Israeli officials explained that roughly 10,000 sheep were brought back to Gaza from the Sinai Peninsula, along with hundreds of cows, thousands of chickens, and tons of various plants and seeds. 

The imports from Egypt were not properly inspected, posing a potential health threat. Agriculture Ministry officials warned that there have been several outbreaks of bird flu, foot and mouth disease, and other dangerous illnesses among Egyptian livestock.

In order to cope with this potential menace, Israeli authorities have approved the transfer of 100,000 veterinary vaccinations to Gaza. The expensive vaccines will be transferred on Monday to Gaza veterinary services.

It is not clear whether the vaccines are being donated or will paid for by the Palestinian Authority.