In an effort to return trade between Israel and private sector businesses in the Gaza Strip to "acceptable" levels despite the closure of border crossings, the Federation of Israeli Chambers of Commerce hosted a delegation of Gaza businessmen at the FICC offices in Tel Aviv Sunday morning.
"This is an important step as it signals that Palestinian businessmen are serious about resuming trade, despite the difficulties that are faced by these individuals due to the closure of the Karni crossing," said FICC President Uriel Lynn.
Included in the delegation from Gaza was Muhammed Hilbani, the owner of a Gaza biscuit factory, who noted that since the Hamas takeover of the Gaza Strip last month, his factory has been virtually shut down.
"I can't get any raw materials for my products and I can't keep my employees," noting that he has had to lay-off much of his staff and has been begged by countless Gazans to hire them for much less than minimum wage.
According to Lynn, the FICC plans to request direct assistance from the Israeli government for PA manufacturers and will ask for the Karni crossing to be opened to the passage of agricultural, textile and furniture to be exported from the Gaza Strip into Israel.
"We hope that following this meeting we will be able to start bringing about change and opening the borders in order to help revive the Gazan economy and to boost trade between Israel and the PA," said Lynn