The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) claimed last week that the closure of the Karni crossing point (the Almuntar crossing) between Israel and the Gaza Strip since January 15 was causing $500,000 a day in economic and humanitarian harm to Palestinians residents in Gaza strip
A spokesman for the UN office added that the closing of the crossing was against a formal agreement between the Palestinian Authority, Israel and the US made on November 15, 2005, allowing free movement through Karni crossing point.
He added that Karni crossing was fully or partly closed for 18% of work days in 2005, 19% of work days in 2004 and 24% in 2003.
Last week we reported that Israel Farmers Federation Director Giora Sela said that the closing down of the Karni crossing for the transfer of agricultural products to and from Gaza had costed Israeli farmers some NIS 10 million.
According to Sela some 40 Israeli trucks loaded with fresh fruit worth an estimated NIS 2 - 3 million had been waiting at the crossing point to enter the Gaza Strip, and if a solution was not found the fruit will rot.
Sela noted that the banana farmers had been suffering the most, as they sell an estimated 3,000 tons a week to Gaza residents. "Bananas can not be stored and will be destroyed".
The spokesman for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs noted that over 70 trucks carrying exports normally pass through Karni crossing each day. The closure had also left 80 containers belonging to UNWRA ( The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East) stranded at the Ashdod Port.
It was also made known late last week that Israeli textile companies claimed that the closure of the crossing point had delayed shipment worth over NIS 50 million. According to an unnamed source the closure had already harmed over 100 textiles and fashion companies that use Gaza sewing factories as subcontractors.