The discussions that the Hamas leadership and the economic delegation accompanying it (representing the private sector in Gaza) are conducting with Egyptian officials in Cairo led to the latter’s renewal of its promises to take steps to improve the economic situation in the Strip, starting from next Sunday, which will be the real test site. for these promises.
According to Palestinian sources who spoke to Al-Akhbar, a number of improvements and facilities were agreed upon, including allowing the entry of construction materials, increasing trade exchange through the Rafah crossing, and supplying large quantities of goods to Gaza.
The Palestinian delegation, whose visit will continue to Cairo, will wait until next Sunday, pending the entry of large quantities of construction materials into the Strip, including iron, which entered exclusively through the Kerem Shalom crossing (the border with the occupation) in small quantities.
Likewise, for the first time, the Egyptian authorities will allow the export of goods from Gaza to the external market, including agricultural products, handicrafts and furniture, while the Palestinian delegation will continue to discuss the mechanisms through which export operations will be facilitated through the Rafah crossing.
According to the same sources, the Palestinian delegation obtained pledges to facilitate the travel of Palestinian merchants through the aforementioned crossing, and to allow them to enter and exit Cairo without delay, and through their own coordination, carried out in cooperation between the Chamber of Commerce, the Ministry of Interior in the Gaza Strip and the Egyptian authorities.
On the other hand, Al-Akhbar learned that the Egyptians are preparing to install a sophisticated electronic monitoring device on the commercial side at the Rafah crossing, as part of the control that was recently agreed to be tightened by the Egyptians – to prevent smuggling of weapons and dual-use items – between President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi and the Prime Minister. Occupation Naftali Bennett.
In the same context, the head of the private sector delegation to Cairo, Walid Al-Hosari, confirmed that the delegation had received serious promises from the Egyptians to increase the volume of trade exchange between Gaza and Egypt, and to provide great facilities “that the merchants and our people will touch in the coming weeks and days.” According to Al-Hosari, these facilities will include increasing the quantity of goods entering the Gaza Strip through the Rafah crossing, approving the entry of new items into Gaza for the first time, such as iron, electrical tools, equipment and machinery needed for factories, medical equipment, cars, medicines, spare parts and glass, in addition to allowing exports from the Strip, and facilitating the movement of traders. And businessmen at the Rafah crossing, strengthening the transit system and establishing a new phase of partnership. The Palestinian economic delegation presented the Egyptians with a paper of demands in the name of the private sector, which included, according to the sources, a reduction in Egyptian taxes on goods entering Gaza, and a reduction in the so-called “risk and insurance allowance” on goods as one of the obstacles to the movement of trade, and preventing the import of goods through Egypt. The Egyptians also renewed their pledges to proceed with the reconstruction of the sector, including the establishment of infrastructure projects and a residential city..
In parallel, the Gaza Chambers of Commerce began receiving applications for entry permits for workers from the Strip to the occupied interior, to work. Thousands of citizens gathered in front of the doors of the chambers of commerce, which had announced the conditions for submitting applications, while there was talk of a preliminary “Israeli” approval to allow 50,000 workers from Gaza to work inside, to be done in stages. Thousands of Palestinians are forced to seek work within the Green Line in light of the high unemployment rate in the Strip, which exceeded 64% during the past year.. (Source: Lebanese News – Rajab Al-Madhoun)