Israel grants Gaza inhabitants 3 thousand new 'commercial' permits

For businesses and workers from the Strip who have completed the vaccination cycle or recovered from Covid-19. Even the Shin Bet, in the past hostile, has approved the decision of the Israeli government. Experts doubt move born of humanitarian concern, but of opportunism, to "gain" time in delaying the next military confrontation with Hamas.



Gaza (AsiaNews/Agencies) - The Israeli government announced yesterday the granting of 3 thousand more permits for the inhabitants of Gaza, who will be able to enter for "commercial" reasons within the Jewish State. Sources believe the decision is aimed at improving the "economic situation" of the Strip, after having "loosened" the blockade in recent weeks. 

The COGAT (the coordinating body of government activities in the Palestinian Territories) said that the number of permits to traders and entrepreneurs in Gaza will increase from the current 7 thousand to 10 thousand. "The permits - specify the members of the Israeli body linked to the Ministry of Defense - will be issued only to those who have completed the vaccination cycle or have recovered from Covid-19".

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett is against the birth of a Palestinian state, but he added that his government is committed to improving livelihoods and living conditions in Gaza and the West Bank. In this sense, permits to trade and work in Israel represent a lifeline for the 2.1 million residents of Gaza, subjected since 2007 to a harsh economic and commercial blockade, the year in which Islamic extremists of Hamas took control of the Strip.

In May, the unemployment rate in the Palestinian enclave was 43%, which then worsened following the Blitzkreig  between Israel and Hamas (together with Islamic Jihad) in the Strip that caused hundreds of casualties and made living conditions even worse. Jessica Montell, executive director of the Israeli rights organization Hamoked, points out that the permits are "enormously significant," but they benefit only a small group of people. "The broader problem," the activist adds, "is Israel's closure of the Strip.

The top management of Shin Bet, Israel's internal intelligence agency, which in the past had reservations about granting broad permits, has accepted the decision taken in coordination with Egypt. Analysts and experts emphasize that the Jewish State has issued the new permits not for "humanitarian reasons", but to "gain time" and "postpone as much as possible" the next military confrontation with Hamas.