ACTNews, GAZA – Many Palestinians, especially in Gaza, rely on their livelihood as farmers. They can produce various types of vegetables or fruits to support their family life. The harvest is also useful for supplying market needs for Palestinians.
Unfortunately, since the Israeli blockade, the farmers in Gaza have experienced difficulties. Israel often oppresses farmers either by destroying or illegally taking land. Frequently, Israeli Zionists damaged the crops.
Palestine’s Ministry of Agriculture said on Wednesday (6/23/2021) that Israel had asked the farmers to remove the crown of the tomato - namely the sepal and pedicel of each tomato that grows from the flower and keep the fruit attached to the stem - before they will allow trucks carrying the fruit to pass through the Karm Abu Salem crossing.
If the farmers don't comply with the rules made unilaterally by Israel, the tomatoes will not be allowed out of Gaza. This is certainly very detrimental to farmers. A Palestinian farmer from Gaza complained that removing the crown would both take extra time and lead to the tomato going off quicker.
There was no immediate explanation from Israeli authorities as to why they had asked for the removal. It also added that customers prefer buying tomatoes with the crown on them, individually or as a bunch.
A farmer said that his tomato crop to be shipped to Ramallah, Nablus, Jenin, and Hebron would have to wait in the trucks for three days at the crossing before being allowed to pass.
“And by the time it finally passes, from the point where we removed the sepal, the tomato will start to go off and rot… When we deliver the tomato [to the market] it will already be rotten, and no one will buy it,” he said, adding that he would also need extra workers to meet the new Israeli restrictions.
Since May, a further 300 truckloads of vegetables, clothes, and furniture were refused permission to exit the enclave, according to the Gaza District Chamber of Commerce. The farmers in Gaza have sustained a total loss of more than $16m since May following Israel's closure of the crossings.