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Two crossings open; Gaza strawberries en route to France

Jan. 18, 2010 9:46 P.M. (Updated: Jan. 19, 2010 10:30 P.M.)
Gaza – Ma’an – Israeli authorities opened the Kerem Shalom and Karni to allow the transfer of aid, limited quantities of domestic gas and industrial diesel, as well as restricted amounts of goods for export, Palestinian border crossing official Raed Fattouh said.

Approximately 70 truckloads of humanitarian aid will be allowed through Kerem Shalom, as well as limited amounts of cooking gas, Fattouh said. At Karni, 98 truckloads of animal feed and wheat will be transferred into the Strip.

For export, two truckloads of strawberries will leave Gaza under the auspices of a program headed up by the Dutch government. The program supports strawberry and carnation farmers in the Strip, and as of 10 December secured permission from Israeli crossings officials for the regular export of both goods.

As of Sunday, more than 1.3 million carnation and more than 41 tons of strawberries left Gaza to European markets.

According to the Head of the Representative Office of Kingdom of the Netherlands in Ramallah Jack Twiss Quarles van Ufford, the strawberries are transported to the French port of Marseilles, from where they enter French and German markets via three major grocery chains there.

Carnations, Twiss told Ma'an, are transported from the Tel Aviv to the Schipol Airport in Amsterdam, the Netherlands as well as by sea, from where they travel by conveyor belt to the Aalsmeer Flower Auction, the largest flower auction house in the world.

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