22 June, 2009 – The Guardian Blog
Palestinian man moves a goat through a smuggling tunnel from Egypt
to Gaza under the border at Rafah. Photograph: Khalil Hamra/AP
Two years after the Israeli blockade began, times remain extremely hard in Gaza.
What’s on the menu? Not cherries, kiwi fruit, green almonds, pomegranates and chocolate – they are expressly prohibited, according to an investigation by the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz. So are all “delicacies”, including the honey and sesame snack halvah. However, a ban of many months on carrots and pumpkins has now been lifted. So pumpkin-stuffed ravioli could be had in Gaza today (pasta is allowed at the moment, though only since John Kerry made a protest in March).
Every consignment of fruit, vegetables or processed food for the 1.5 million Palestinians living in what has been called the world’s largest refugee camp is, according to the paper, inspected by high-level Israeli officials. For what? For unsuitable tastiness, apparently. An official told Ha’aretz :”We don’t want Gilad Shalit’s captors to be munching Bamba right over his head.” Shalit is an Israeli soldier taken prisoner by a Palestinian group three years ago. Bamba is a peanut-butter flavoured corn snack, the most popular in Israel.