Israel Opens Gaza Border ... for Flowers
Posted on Feb 13, 2009
In probably the least appropriate metaphor for relations between Israel and Palestine, Israel has allowed, for the first time in a year, Gazan flower companies to export 25,000 carnations to Europe in time for Valentine’s Day, though the volume pales in comparison to previous annual exports of 60 million flowers.
The New York Times:
Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Israel allowed the export of a shipment of flowers from Hamas-run Gaza on Thursday for the first time in about a year, Israeli officials said.
The flowers, destined for Europe, are hardly a token of affection between Israel and the Islamic rulers of the Palestinian enclave, but they could portend a possible thaw in commercial relations in the context of a cease-fire.
The shipment of 25,000 carnations passed through the Kerem Shalom cargo terminal on the Israel-Gaza border at the Dutch government’s request, according to Maj. Peter Lerner, a spokesman for the Israeli Defense Ministry agency that handles Palestinian civilian affairs. They are scheduled to be flown from Ben-Gurion Airport on Friday.
Gaza does not have a functioning airport or seaport, and it has no commercial crossing on its border with Egypt, so all exports have to pass through Israel.
European Pressphoto Agency / Abed Rahim Khatib
A Palestinian carries cut carnations at a farm in the Rafah refugee camp in the southern Gaza.