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Mar 5, 10:48 AM EST

Israel eases restrictions on Gaza vegetable exports

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JERUSALEM (AP) -- Israel has eased its restrictions on Gaza vegetable exports, a move that could help both Palestinian farmers and pious Jews.

Cogat, the military agency that deals with Gaza civilian affairs, said Thursday that farmers can begin marketing vegetables to Israel next week for the first time since 2007, when Israel and Egypt imposed a blockade after the Islamic militant group Hamas seized power.

The move coincides with "shmita," when according to the Bible, Israeli farmers must let their lands rest every seven years.

Most Israelis will continue to purchase and eat local produce, but the Palestinian exports would provide an alternative for the most pious.

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