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Hamas Ends Week-Old Deal Importing Israeli Watermelons Into Gaza

TEL AVIV – The Hamas-run agricultural ministry in Gaza announced on Monday that it was putting an end to importing Israeli watermelons into the Strip.

On its Facebook page, the ministry said it was cancelling the deal after only four days because local Gazan farmers agreed to sell watermelons at lower prices.

The shortage of watermelon fields in Gaza led to a hike in price. Whereas in 2015, 1,112 acres of land was cultivated for watermelons, in 2016 the number dropped to 865 acres, Palestinian news agency Ma’an reported.

On Wednesday, the ministry announced that it would resume the import of watermelons from Israel after an eight-year ban put in place by the Palestinians. Prior to that, Gaza was importing between 20,000 and 30,000 Israeli-grown watermelons.

According to Tahsin al-Saqa, director of the ministry’s marketing department, 600 tons of watermelons were imported from Israel in the last three days.

Despite the blockade on Gaza, Israel allows hundreds of trucks carrying humanitarian aid, construction materials, and food into Gaza every day.

Two years ago, however, Hamas announced that it would “punish” Israel by banning fruit imports from Israel into Gaza.

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