An Israeli plan to severely restrict trade between Israel and the Gaza Strip is currently pending approval from Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Defense Minister Amir Peretz.An Israeli plan to severely restrict trade between Israel and the Gaza Strip is currently pending approval from Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Defense Minister Amir Peretz.
The plan, which has the approval of the international community, would allow only a small number of trucks into Gaza from the northern border with Israel (import only, no export) through Erez, and the eastern border, Kerem Shalom. The Rafah crossing, on the southern border of Gaza, between Gaza and Egypt, would be open intermittently for limited commerce.
The plan will still not allow exports from the Gaza Strip, leaving the Gazans in much the same position they have been in for the past year- under international economic blockade, with a failing economy, and borders completely sealed by the occupying Israeli military.
The Palestinian Authority has carried out the instructions of the occupying Israeli government to open a bank account for customs taxes that will transfer money collected at the border directly to the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas', account. This demand was made because the Israeli authorities did not want to allow the customs' taxes to go through the normal bureaucratic channel of the Palestinian Finance Ministry.
Since Israel doesn't approve of the party elected into government in democratic elections last year by the Palestinians, no Palestinian government business is permitted to be carried out through normal channels. Instead, Israel is withholding Palestinian tax money, and demanding that the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, be the sole beneficiary of excise and customs taxes.
The Israeli Defense Ministry has announced that part of the 'trade passage plan' is to open an 'industrial zone' in the northern Gaza Strip where Palestinians will be allowed to work for Israeli companies in a 'no-man's land' between Israel and the Gaza Strip. The 'industrial zone' would be controlled by private Turkish contractors.