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Israel grants 90 permits to Gaza businessmen for 1st time since 2007

June 5, 2015 3:53 P.M. (Updated: July 22, 2015 10:49 A.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israeli authorities on Friday granted Palestinian businessmen from the Gaza Strip permits for the first time since 2007, officials at the Palestinian liaison said.

An official told Ma'an that Israel granted 90 "BMG" permits to Gazan businessmen to facilitate their movement for 6 months.

Businessmen in Gaza have previously been granted "BMC" permits. A BMC permit allows its holder to enter Israel through crossings or checkpoints used by Israelis, for example to travel via Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv.

The permits were changed however to "BMG" permits, which last for six months rather than a couple days according to COGAT guidelines for administering the permits.

Carriers of BMG permits enable the business persons to enter Israel as well to travel via Allenby bridge as "VIP" travelers, however travel via Israeli airports requires a separate approval process.

The new permits are being issued amid a reported increase in the detention of Gazan business workers at the Erez crossing in March and February of this year.

"The Erez crossing has become a trap for Gaza merchants who have newly received entry permits from Israel," a Palestinian liaison official told Ma'an after an electronics salesman was detained in March.

Israel, he added, had recently started to issue entry permits to new Gaza traders while veteran businessmen were being denied entry.

Palestinians detained at Erez are often interrogated for several hours, sometimes even for days, before they are either allowed into Israel en route to the West Bank or sent back to Gaza.
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