Palestinian farmers who took over the greenhouses of Jewish settlers after the disengagement have harvested and exported their first crop, sending eight tons of peppers by truck to Israeli wholesalers on Sunday, the head of the Palestinian agency managing the project said.
The chairman of the Palestine Economic Development Company, Basil Jaber, said that Sunday's shipment was a trial run and by the end of the year growers expected to export an unspecified quantity of peppers, cherry tomatoes and strawberries to European and other markets.
The greenhouses, which cover about 750 acres, were bought for about $14 million by a private foundation headed by Yossi Beilin and funded with donations from US Jews, in the hope of giving a boost to the ailing Gaza economy and saving the jobs of about 3,500 Palestinians who used worked in the settlements.
Jaber could not say how much was earned on Sunday's shipment or what projected revenues would be for the rest of the growing season, which finishes at the end of December.
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