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Cablegate: Prices Stabilize As Food Remains Available in Gaza

VZCZCXRO6067
OO RUEHROV
DE RUEHJM #1317 1771405
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 261405Z JUN 07
FM AMCONSUL JERUSALEM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8174
INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS PRIORITY

UNCLAS JERUSALEM 001317

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

NEA FOR FRONT OFFICE; NEA/IPA FOR
WILLIAMS/SHAMPAINE/BELGRADE; PRM FOR PDAS GREENE AND
PRM/ANE; NSC FOR ABRAMS/WATERS; TREASURY FOR
SZUBIN/LOEFFLER/NUGENT/HIRSON; BRUSSELS FOR LERNER; PLEASE
PASS TO USAID FOR KUNDER/MCCLOUD/BORODIN

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID ECON EFIN KPAL KWBG PGOV PHUM
SUBJECT: PRICES STABILIZE AS FOOD REMAINS AVAILABLE IN GAZA

REF: JERUSALEM 1304

1. (SBU) Summary: Food prices for most items in Gaza have
returned to just above normal following the panic-buying and
price increases that occurred immediately following the Hamas
takeover of Gaza. Gaza is not experiencing shortages of
basic commodities. Hamas threatened to confiscate goods from
price-hiking food suppliers, releasing a phone number for
Gaza consumers to report price abuses. Many store owners
have limited individual amounts sold to customers to control
hoarding. Dairy products were imported commercially into
Gaza June 25. UNRWA plans to ship food aid into Gaza this
week. End summary.

Prices Slide This Week
----------------------

2. (SBU) WFP Spokesperson Kirstie Campbell told Econoff June
26 that wheat-flour prices in Gaza City dropped 30 percent
since early last week, after having climbed steeply due to
panic-buying following the Hamas takeover in Gaza. Campbell
reported that most fruits and many vegetables remain
unavailable is Gaza markets, having historically arrived via
the closed Karni/al-Mintar crossing. She said that Gaza's
food supply is not currently experiencing shortages of basic
food commodities.

3. (SBU) Hamas Executive Security Forces have warned against
hoarding and price-hiking and established a phone number for
Gaza consumers to report high, abusive prices, according to
Gaza-based Palestinian Agribusiness Partnership Activity
(PAPA) project director Salem al-Raiz. He said that the
warnings, which have been airing on Hamas-run al-Aqsa radio
and television since June 18, have helped stem further
panic-buying and sharp price increases in Gaza. Market
vendors and store owners have limited individual amounts sold
to customers to prevent hoarding of basic food commodities,
according to al-Raiz and Gaza-based OCHA representative
Hamada al-Bayari June 26.

Dairy Products Arrive/UNRWA Food Due
------------------------------------

4. (SBU) Paltrade reported that 15 truckloads of dairy
products entered Gaza commercially via Sufa crossing June 25.
Al-Raiz said that dairy prices have held steady throughout
June, as milk is contained in some of the recently-arrive
food aid packages.

5. (SBU) UNRWA Gaza Director John Ging told Poloff June 26
that UNRWA has enough food in its Gaza warehouses for food
distribution until July 6. He said that UNRWA has 104
containers of Gaza-bound humanitarian aid at Ashdod port,
which he plans to begin shipping into Gaza via Sufa crossing
this week. Ging said that these shipments should provide
sufficient food for UNRWA beneficiaries through August.
WALLES

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