10,000 tons of apples are expected to cross into Syria via the Quneitra crossing every day over the course of the next few weeks
Beginning March 2nd, 2010, apples grown by Israeli civilians in the Golan Heights are exported into Syria, in accordance with the directives of the Israeli government and the request of the International Red Cross. Apples will continue to pass into Syria for the duration of several weeks.
The sale of Golan apples in Syria began in 2004, at the initiative of the Israeli Agriculture Ministry. The move came in response to a requestby Druze farmers in the Golan Heights, because there were too many apples in the Israeli market.
The apples will be transferred via the Quneitra crossing, normally used for thepassage of United Nations personnel. Representatives of the Red Cross in Syria will coordinate the export, in cooperation with UN officials and under IDF supervision.
The IDF is responsible for escorting and securing the crossing of trucks along the Syrian border.
The operation involves Red Cross trucks driven by drivers from Kenya, who bring the produce to Jordan and Syria.
Over 30 trucks, carrying approximately 10,000 tons of apples, mostly Starling and Golden Delicious, are expected to cross into Syria every day over the course of the next few weeks. 2010 marks the fifth consecutive year in which Israeli-grown apples are transferred into Syria.
The present quantity is more than double the quantity sent to Syria a few years ago, and is about 8 percent of Israel's annual apple production, of 120,000 tons.