Israeli Hummus on Gaza Grocery Shelves

YERUSHALAYIM -

Despite the ongoing hostilities between Israel and terrorist groups in Gaza, Israeli consumer products have found an eager market in the Hamas-run enclave, Ynet reports.

Cookies, coffee, soap and even hummus are among the Israeli items – with Hebrew writing on the labels – found these days on the grocery shelves in Gaza.

A Tnuva importer in Gaza said that every day, some 200 tons of the company’s products arrive for distribution to about 1,700 stores. The most popular products are milk and cream.

Tnuva is by no means alone, though. Food and cleaning products from Israeli companies such as Telma, Willifood, Osem and Sano are also represented.

In 2012, the import value of Israeli products to Gaza reached NIS 1.3 billion ($375 million).

The business is mostly one way, as restrictions on exports from Gaza for security reasons keep Gazan products out of Israel.

There’s been some change, though. A month-and-a-half after Operation Pillar of Defense, Israel invited 30 Palestinian farmers from Gaza to attend an agriculture exhibition in Israel. During their visit, they made contact with Israeli companies that provided them with new technologies and advanced methods to pass the international export standard.

“Our interest is to export Israel our products; we focus on the business benefits, and not politics,” said Ahmed Shafi, the head of the Gaza City Agricultural Association.

The prices of the Israeli products are significantly lower in Gaza.

For example, an Osem cookies box will cost NIS 7 ($2.02) in Gaza, in comparison to NIS 11.40 ($3.29) in the Israeli “Mega” and “Shufersal” retail chains; Sano window cleaner costs NIS 11 ($3.17) in Gaza, compared to NIS 15 ($4.33) in Israel.