GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Israeli media outlets reported Feb. 18 that for the first time since 2006, Israeli authorities will allow 7,000 Gazan merchants to work inside Israel. Israel’s Channel 13 quoted an Israeli security source as saying the fishing zone would be expanded to 15 nautical miles and the number of work permits to merchants would increase to 7,000. The Gaza Chamber of Commerce and Industry said Feb. 20 it will start receiving new applications for the work permits in Israel.
Maher Tabbaa, director of public relations and media at the Gaza Chamber of Commerce and Industry, told Al-Monitor that “an additional 2,000 permits for merchants to work in Israel will be granted. This number will be added to the already 5,000 merchants allowed to work in Israel. The increase in the number of work permits is a part of the truce understanding Hamas and Israel reached.” He explained that the new permits are equally distributed among Gaza’s five chambers — namely 200 permits for each of the governorates — and said they will be accepting 1,000 applications in the first stage.