As storm clouds gather in the Middle East from Syria to Sanaa, in one place a ray of light is breaking through. Haaretz reports:
Israel imported its first fruit and vegetables from the Gaza Strip in almost eight years on Thursday, in a partial easing of an economic blockade maintained since the Islamist group Hamas seized control of the Palestinian territory.
Twenty-seven metric tons of tomatoes and five tons of eggplants were trucked across the border under an Israeli plan to bring in around 1,200 tons of produce a month. The Palestinians welcomed the move, though the scale fell short of the some 3,300 tons they said they had previously exported to Israel each month.
The Gazans haven’t exactly beaten their rockets into plowshares, but this kind of relaxation is a sign that things are going well on the security front. This can partially be read as a vote of confidence in Sisi’s ability to keep weapons out of Hamas’s hands: Israel feels more secure because Egypt has the other border closed.Therefore it can open its borders a bit—which should act as a carrot to match the Egyptian stick. The combined message: if the Gazans can replace or sufficiently moderate the Hamas government, the fruits of peace might be attainable. And if not, both Jerusalem and Cairo have shown their willingness to act.