The deterioration of the Gaza market is prompting business tycoons like Mazen Sinokrot to explore the possibilities of investing to other markets. Sinokrot has indicated that he has been forced to diversify trade as Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip denied him access to a third of the Palestinian market. Instead of shipping chocolate wafers to Palestinians, Sinokrot is exploiting the climate of the Jordan valley to export cherry tomatoes to Europe. Hopeful Palestinians are now also turning to date palms as a source of livelihood as the Palestinian government plans to revive date cultivation.

Israel carried out air strikes against the Gaza Strip on May 29 to destroy a metal factory held suspicious of producing weapons and digging secret tunnels. No one was wounded in the attack. On the other hand, an explosion of a smuggled cooking gas canister killed six Palestinians and injured several people.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu plans to move from U.S.-mediated proximity talks to direct talks with the Palestinians to restart the peace process between the two states. Indirect talks began early this month and have raised hopes direct negotiations could begin soon.

Despite the move toward direct peace negotiation, at least nine pro-Palestinian activists and some Turkish were killed as Israel commandos took control of the flotilla of ships. The vessels – with 700 passengers who are mostly Turkish but also includes other nationals – carried 10,000 tons of aid in an attempt to break Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip since 2007. The incident was widely condemned and the U.N. Human Rights Council approved a fact-finding mission despite opposition from the U.S. and others. Israel’s U.N. envoy said that the troops acted in self-defense against the attack of the activists but the campaigners insist the soldiers opened fire without any provocation. Thousands of Iraqi protesters marched on the streets of Baghdad to protest the deaths of pro-Palestinian activists.

About the author

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    Chiden Balmes

    Chiden, a correspondent based in Seoul, focuses on computer-assisted reporting to provide international development professionals with practical business and career information. He also contributes to the Development Newswire and the Global Development Briefing, two of the world's highest-circulation development publications.