European Community Leaders Hail Arrival of First Fruit from Gaza

The West German freighter Iunez docked Tuesday at the port of Vlaardingen, west of Rotterdam, to a reception not usually accorded a prosaic refrigerated ship making commercial rounds.

Officials of the European Community and the ambassadors of several Arab and West European countries were on hand to greet the ship, as was the Palestine Liberation Organization’s representative from The Hague.

The Iunez, which sailed from the Israeli port of Ashdod earlier this month, brought the first cargo of citrus fruit from the Gaza Strip to be marketed in Europe directly by the Palestinian growers.

Heretofore, agricultural produce from the Israeli-administered territories was handled by Israeli government agencies, Agrexco and the Citrus Marketing Board.

The Iuncz carried 1,100 tons of grapefruit, labeled “Gaza Top.” There was no Israeli brand name, though the shipment was packed in cardboard cases manufactured in Israeli.

The first case was presented as a gift to Dutch Foreign Minister Hans van den Broek.

Under the terms of a contract signed with the European Community in October, 16,000 tons of Palestinian citrus will be shipped to the European market this season. It represents 10 percent of the total Gaza production.

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