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Israel rejects sweet potato imports from Gaza

Sweet results as farmers harvest sweet potatoes in Khan Yunis, Gaza Strip [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]

Despite a request made by Rabbi Yaakov Litzman, Israeli Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Oded Forer has refused the importation of sweet potatoes from Gaza, Israel's MivzakLive News reported on Sunday.

Due to a shortage of sweet potatoes in Israel, Litzman, former MK and head of the ultra-Orthodox United Torah Judaism party, appealed to Forer to allow the importation of sweet potatoes from the besieged Gaza Strip.

"The policy that I have outlined since the beginning of my term in the Ministry of Agriculture is not to import goods in general, and agricultural produce in particular, from the Gaza Strip in addition to the existing imports that were approved before I took office," Forer wrote in a letter sent to Litzman.

"This policy remains the same today and will not change until our sons (Israeli soldiers captured in Gaza) are released," he added.

Forer said this was not the first time he rejected importing agricultural produce from the Gaza Strip, which has been under a strict Israeli siege since 2007.

"About a year ago, I received a request from the European Union ambassador in Israel to allow the import of strawberries from the Gaza Strip," Forer recounted. "This request was answered in the negative," he added, stating the same reasons.

Forer ordered the Directorate of Plant Protection Services to examine other alternatives for importing vegetables and fruits that do not come from the Gaza Strip.

READ: Israel forces demolish Palestinian greenhouse in occupied West Bank

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