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Israel allows new cars into Gaza for first time in four years

Tuesday, September 21, 2010 09:42:18 AM, DPA

Gaza: Israel allowed 20 brand-new cars to enter the Gaza Strip Monday, the first such act since it imposed a blockade on the enclave in 2006, Palestinian officials said.

The cars were escorted from Israel to the Erez crossing on the northern border of the strip, said Raed Fatouh, the head of the committee coordinating the entrance of goods into Gaza.

Four additional trucks, loaded with oil, spare parts and tires, were also allowed into the strip.

Sa'di al-Kurunz, the minister of transport for the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority, said that Israel will continue allowing more new cars into Gaza, in coordination with his ministry. Vehicle access to Gaza will take place at a specific and constant rate, he said.

Zaher Salah, a Gaza car dealer, said that the 20 cars allowed in on Monday included 16 German-made Volkswagen Golfs and Polos, and four Korean-made Hyundais.

"All are 2010 models," he said.

Since Israel tightened its blockade of the strip in 2007 - following Hamas' takeover of the enclave - the population has been forced to depend on second-hand cars, or make do with the vehicles they were using before the siege was imposed.

They have also used cars smuggled into the strip from Egypt via tunnels dug under the border with the Sinai peninsula, but these were very expensive to purchase.

According to Salah, the price of second-hand cars has increased 100 per cent over the past four years. A Hyundai, for example, now sells at 30,000 dollars.

Salah and other car dealers in Gaza said the Israeli decision to allow new cars in would put an end to the car price hikes and would also help the Gaza economy flourish.

"Smuggling cars through the tunnels had harmed the car business in the Gaza Strip," he said. "I believe that the Israeli decision to allow cars in is the right decision in the right direction."
  

 


 

 

 

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Due to the threats of riot and terror attacks, the festive season in India nowadays results in sleepless nights for the security personnel. Against this backdrop, the show of communal harmony in Malegaon by Ajantha Mandal cannot be more timely. The Mandal in a large hoarding portrays the real picture of the Muslim dominated textile town in North Maharashtra. It shows, Malegaon is where Azan in a Masjid and Shunkh in a Mandir go simultaneously. To further make its point, the Mandal plays communal harmony songs on a cassette-player in its full sound.

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