UN: Gaza Exports Long Way Off Despite Trial

Published March 6, 2012 3:36PM (EST)

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — The U.N.'s World Food Program is sending a test shipment of date bars from Gaza, hoping this first export to the West Bank in years will revive a crucial trade route.

Israel has eased its border blockade of the Hamas-ruled coastal strip, but continues to bar exports of manufactured goods. Exports, especially to the West Bank, on the opposite side of Israel, were once a mainstay of Gaza's economy.

Critics say the export ban is meant to suppress Gaza's economy and pressure the Islamic militant Hamas. Israel cites security concerns.

Sune Kent of the World Food Program said Tuesday that regular Gaza shipments to the West Bank are a long way off. He said it took months to win Israeli approval for the shipment of 140 tons of date bars.

By Salon Staff

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