Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Agricultural Terror? Surely Not!!

It seems that it was rather premature to suggest in the earlier blog that the terrorists who attacked Dimona had made it into Israel through the porous Israel Egyptian border. The fact that the Anti terrorist barrier around the west Bank has still not been completed, particularly in the area around Hebron was enough to allow these terrorists through.

Now it seems that officials at the Agriculture Ministry are deeply concerned about the porous border between Gaza and Egypt and say the risk of animal and plant diseases spreading to Israel has significantly increased since the breaching of the frontier last month.

This week, Israel is sending 100,000 vaccination doses into Gaza to help farmers immunize their live-stock against four diseases as part of a strategy to stop the spread of infections into Israel.

The Jerusalem Post reports that Agriculture Minister Shalom Simhon might soon decide to permanently end all movement of agricultural goods from Gaza to Israel, or from Gaza to Europe via Israel, due to the large quantities of livestock and plants that have entered the Strip from Egypt without any form of quality control, the ministry said In a statement.

For the past six months, no Gazan livestock has been allowed to enter Israel or the West Bank, but the ministry cautioned that the recent border breach had increased the chances of dangerous livestock diseases finding their way into Israel since "diseases don't respect official boundaries."

In December, four Egyptians died of bird flu. Since the disease first appeared in Egypt in 2006, 43 human infections - 19 of them fatal - have been confirmed by the Egyptian Health Ministry.

Israeli and Palestinian veterinary services are cooperating with each other and exchanging information, but it is not known what has entered Gaza,.

“The threat to Israel's crops and plant life has also increased, the director of Plant Protection and Inspection Services at the Agriculture Ministry”, told the Jerusalem Post

"Egypt is an African state. It has insects that can seriously harm crops and trees. There are large numbers of flies in Egypt that devour fruit, and they can enter Gaza. In fact, that is what is happening," the director said.

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