Friday, December 24, 2004

Plus Two

The Daily Star (Lebanon) said on Friday that
Israel has authorized farmers in the Golan Heights to sell 15,000 tons of apples to Syria in the first trade deal between the countries, officials said Thursday.

Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz "responded positively to a request by the farmers who have an excess of production and authorized the sale of 15,000 tons to Syria," a Defense Ministry spokesman said.

It represents "the first officially authorized commercial transaction" between the two countries which are technically in a state of war, the spokesman added.
The farmers in question are not Israelis but members of the Golan's Druze community, who refused to give up their Syrian nationality when Israel annexed the region in 1981. And the deal is supposedly being done through the UN, not directly, and the apples will exported to Syria by way of Jordan. So like many things before in the region, there's a lot of indirection involved. But everyone still knows where the apples are coming from, where they are going to, and that it's the first time it's been done.

Like the man said, small steps, small steps.

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