A Palestinian official has told the Ma’an news agency that on Tuesday, Israel banned the import or export of gold from or to the Gaza Strip. The move, according to a representative of the gold merchants’ union, would be devastating to merchants and manufacturers of jewelry and one more impediment to Gaza’s already struggling economy just as that industry was returning. Gold trade was banned by the Hamas faction when it seized control of the Gaza Strip from the Palestinian Authority in 2006, but was permitted to return only one month ago. The Palestinians claim that Israeli officials said at that time that gold bars would be permitted to be sent to the West Bank and jewelry imported from the West Bank. According to Ma’an, it is presumed that the bars first entered Gaza through smuggling tunnels. There was no comment by Israeli authorities cited by the agency.
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