Palestine's wilting carnations

3 March 2009

Palestine's wilting carnations

Israel is continuing to impose an economic boycott on Gaza. Forty million carnations, grown with Dutch financial support, have been stuck inside the enclave since 10th February because they cannot be exported without crossing Israeli territory. The boycott is a reaction to the seizure in 2006 of an Israeli soldier, Gilat Shalit.


Erik MeijerGaza has no port of its own since its harbour was reduced to rubble by the Israelis. Nor does it have an airport. It is therefore completely dependent on road transport. "That Israel is blocking the economic development of the neighbouring territory of Gaza is contributing to increasing despair and violence in the region," says SP Euro-MP Erik Meijer. "The EU should be taking action against this."

Dutch aid

The Netherlands has, in recent years, given financial aid to flower-growers in the coastal region along the Mediterranean Sea in Gaza. The aim was to give the Israeli-occupied region a spark of hope in the form of jobs and income.

"The desire for freedom for Shalit is just, but people who had no responsibility for his seizure are being punished," says Meijer. The SP Euro-MP has put a series of written parliamentary questions to the European Commission asking what the EU is doing to enable the export of flowers so that the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip are no longer forced to depend on Israel.

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