About 3.000 merchants and businessmen from Gaza are still banned from travelling since Israeli occupation authorities suspended their travel permits. For two years, now, only 800 merchants are allowed to travel, the head of civil affairs department Saleh al-Zeq said.

Al-Zeq stressed the importance of the efforts that the department paid to facilitate the movement of the merchants from and to Gaza Strip.

The task of overcoming obstacles and challenges imposed by the Israeli side on the movement of businessmen and traders is the top priority of the Civil Affairs Authority, al-Zeq said. He added, according to Al Ray Palestinian Media Agency, that the authority recognizes the important role that the private sector plays in developing the national economy.

He explained that there are instructions from the head of the Civil Affairs Authority, Hassan Ashiekh, to address the problems of the movement of people and goods to and from the Strip.

He pointed out that the Israeli side has, for two years, raised the age group of traders and businessmen who are subjected to security from 35 to 55 years. This means that every applicant for a travel permit under the age of 55 is subject to a security check and Israeli approval to grant a travel permit.

Al-Zeq said that the authority got an administrative approval from the Israeli side to increase the number of traders who get the BMC card to 200 , while the number of traders who have the BMC card is 250. He noted that, four years ago, the number of traders who got the BMC card was 500.

Such a card needs an Israeli security approval, as well as administrative approval.

He said that there is no a specific time for reopening Rafah crossing, reaffirming the statement of Hassan al-Shiekh that the Rafah crossing will be opened when the security conditions be appropriate in both Egyptian and Palestinian side.