Israel-PA conference of agricultural exports
Israel-PA conference of agricultural exports Israel news photo: IDF / CoGAT

The lives of Palestinian Authority Arabs living in Gaza are steadily improving, says Israel, despite the challenges of the regionwide "Arab Spring" and a worldwide financial crisis threatening the economy.

In the third quarter of 2011, exports from the region were up by 30 percent over the same period a year earlier, according to figures released Wednesday by the IDF Coordinator for Government Activities in the Territories (CoGAT).

Unemployment rates in the area also have decreased to their lowest levels in at least ten years. Professional PA bodies cross into pre-1967 Israel for conferences and programs on a daily basis, and Gaza residents receive permits to exit the region for worship and other religious purposes as well.

Dozens of Gaza farmers and representatives of the international community also attended a series of professional conferences about the export process this month, held at the Gaza Coordination and Liaison Offices (CLO) and the land crossing terminals.

In addition, 176 construction projects were approved for the region, including 70 that are already underway, and many others that have been completed, according to CoGAT.

The projects include 1,918 new housing units, upgrades for six hospitals and construction of seven additional clinics. An education project is set to renovate and build 57 new schools and nurseries in the near future as well.

At least 27 projects deal with water and sewage purification, according to CoGAT. Also approved were the construction of 18 greenhouses and cold storage rooms for frut and vegetables, as well as rehabilitation of soil and water sources.

Unfortunately, there were other exports from the region as well, not nearly as positive.

There was a significant increase in the number of rocket and mortar attacks fired by terrorists from the Hamas terrorist-ruled region at Jewish communities in southern Israel during this period.

At least one Israeli was killed and dozens were wounded late last month when Hamas terrorist ally Islamic Jihad unleashed a barrage of rocket attacks on southern Israel. Dozens more were hospitalized for severe anxiety and trauma reactions.

A total of 39 rockets and mortars were fired by PA Arab terrorists from Gaza at southern Israeli towns and cities during the last weekend of October. Ashdod, Ashkelon, Be'er Sheva and Gan Yavne were some of the numerous communities targeted in the rocket attacks that rained down on Israel's western Negev.

Nevertheless, the IDF and Israel's government insists it will continue to "make sure to affect the lives of Palestinian civilians living in the Gaza Strip as little as possible while maintaining the security of Israeli civilians and soldiers."

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