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Gaza imports watermelon from Israel, lifting 8-year ban

June 21, 2016 7:44 P.M. (Updated: June 22, 2016 4:56 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- The Palestinian Ministry of Agriculture in the Gaza Strip Tuesday allowed watermelon imports from Israel into the besieged enclave following an eight-year Palestinian-imposed ban, according to the general director of marketing and crossings at the ministry.

Tahsin al-Saqqa told Ma’an that the watermelons entered via the Kerem Shalom crossing between Gaza and Israel and were allowed passage following a shortage of planted areas in the besieged Gaza Strip, leading to a price increase in the local market.

The ministry decided to allow the entrance of watermelon for three days in order to lower the prices in Gaza’s local market, al-Saqqa said.

He added that some 1,000 tons of watermelons would be expected to cross into the Palestinian enclave over the coming three days.

The recent imports of Israeli watermelons come after seven years of self-sufficient production of watermelon in the small Palestinian territory. However, the land cultivated for watermelon production fell from 4,500 dunams (1,112 acres) last year to 3,500 dunams (865 acres) this year.

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