The first shipment of 2,000 garments from the Ashour factory left Gaza on Monday through Kerem Shalom on its way to JD Williams. The second shipment of 2,000 additional garments will be shipped in the near future. This is a historical moment, as it is the first time that non-food items have left Gaza for an international buyer since 2007.
This is due to an immense personal effort exerted by Lord Stone to make this historical transaction possible. He personally visited Gaza to facilitate this.
Commenting on this export of garments from Gaza, the British Consul General in Jerusalem, Sir Vincent Fean, said:
“I welcome today’s news of the first export of textile goods from Gaza to the UK since 2007. The export of 2000 garments from the Ashour Company, a leading knitwear producer in Gaza, to a UK outlet is a great success for Gazan business. This success was made possible by the technical and financial support provided by the UK Department for International Development through the Palestinian Facility for New Market Development (FNMD). In the past four years, the UK has provided support through FNMD to over 340 companies in Gaza to help them rebuild operations and expand their businesses, helping create jobs for over 1,600 Gazans.
I would like to express my gratitude to Lord Stone and the Office of the Quartet Representative for their help in facilitating these exports.
While the UK will never underestimate the security needs of Israel, it is our firm belief that economic prosperity in Gaza is the surest way to achieve that security, through undermining the tunnel economy . This development marks a further step by Israel towards fulfilling its commitment to allow economic development for the 1.6 million people in Gaza, and I hope that further such exports will be permitted at a sustained level not only to the UK, but also to Israel and the West Bank – the natural markets for Gaza products.”
The Minister for International Development, Alan Duncan MP, welcomed this news, saying:
“Through trade, we can help Gaza rebuild its economy, providing opportunities for Gazans to pull themselves out of poverty and creating a safer and more secure environment for the Palestinians and for Israel.
While I am pleased that the UK has supported this important development for Gazan business, it is my hope that we quickly reach a stage where there is no longer a need for such assistance, because sustained exports from Gaza will be the norm.”