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GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip – Israeli authorities are permitting Gaza farmers to export produce to Israel for the first time since Hamas seized control of the territory in 2007.
Palestinian and Israeli officials say some 27 tons of tomatoes and 5 tons of eggplants are leaving Gaza on Thursday for markets in Israel.
Gazans used to export hundreds of tons of vegetables to Israel daily, until Israel and Egypt imposed a blockade in 2007. Israel says the blockade prevents Hamas, an Islamic militant group, from getting weapons, but critics say it amounts to collective punishment. Israel has eased some of the restrictions recently.
The Gaza vegetable exports will help devout Jews observe a farming sabbatical prescribed by the Bible that falls once every seven years.