Hamas bans West Bank dairy products from entering Gaza

The PA Ministry of National Economy denounced the ban and said that “Palestine is a single geographic unit, politically and economically.”

Milk (photo credit: MARTIN VOREL)
(photo credit: MARTIN VOREL)
Hamas has banned Palestinian dairy companies in the West Bank from selling their products in the Gaza Strip.
The unprecedented decision drew strong condemnation from the Palestinian Authority and many Palestinians, who said Hamas continues to allow various Israeli products to enter the coastal enclave.
The move was a “despicable crime,” PA officials in Ramallah said, adding that it would deepen the split between the West Bank and Gaza.
Trade and Crossings director-general Rami Abu Rish announced the ban in a letter to Karem Abu Salem (Kerem Shalom) crossing director Ahmed Musalam. The Kerem Shalom crossing is on the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip.
Products from Al-Juneidi Company for Dairy Products and Food Products and Al-Jebrini Dairy & Food Industry Co. were banned, said the letter, dated November 22. The two companies are based in the West Bank.
The ban aims to “support and strengthen local products,” the letter said.
Many Palestinians criticized the Hamas ban, especially since the decision does not include Israeli dairy products.
The PA Ministry of National Economy denounced the ban. “Palestine is a single geographic unit, politically and economically,” it said.
The ministry expressed hope that “the brothers in Hamas will reverse their wrong decision to prevent the entry of products of national companies specialized in the field of dairy production from the northern governorates [West Bank] to the southern governorates [Gaza Strip].”
The Ramallah-based government was “making great efforts to bring the products of the southern governorates into the northern governorates at a time when the Israeli occupation limits said the flow of commercial trade between the two parts of the country,” the PA ministry said.
The Hamas ban was “dangerous,” senior Fatah official Azzam al-Ahmed said. The Gaza Strip, the West Bank and Jerusalem are “one homeland,” he added.
Hamas should rescind its decision “before it’s too late,” Ahmed said, adding: “How can Hamas take such a decision, as if the West Bank is a foreign country?”
The Hamas-controlled Ministry of National Economy in Gaza said it “denies what is being circulated on social media and news sites” about a ban on the entry of West Bank products into the Gaza Strip.
The ministry admitted that some owners of dairy factories in the Gaza Strip have demanded to limit the import of dairy products. It promised to study the matter and said it had not yet made a decision.
But Mustafa Eid, the owner of a food company in the Gaza Strip, confirmed that a decision had been taken to ban West Bank products from entering the Gaza Strip.
The decision was taken by the Hamas-controlled Ministry of National Economy, “and there are promises to implement it due to the damage caused to dairy factories in the Gaza Strip as a result of Israeli restrictions on export,” he told the Hamas-affiliated Quds Net website.