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Report Israeli Exports to Lebanon Have Jumped from $800,000 Last June to $9.3 Million in October

January 19, 1983
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Israeli exports to Lebanon have “taken a quantum leap” since last June, rising from a mere $800,000 to $9.3 million in October, according to the Financial Times of London.

The paper’s Beirut correspondent, Nora Boustany, quotes an Israel army spokesman as estimating that Israel’s trade with Lebanon is already averaging $20 million a month, half in transit goods and half in Israeli-made exports, which is around 10 percent of Lebanon’s estimated imports last year.

This trade is flourishing despite threats by Lebanese Premier Shafik Wazzan that dealers in Israeli produce will be stripped of their nationality. Hundreds of Lebanese entrepreneurs have been requesting leaflets and catalogues about Israeli suppliers from David Katarivas, an Israeli trade official based northeast of Beirut, The Financial Times added.

Reporting that hundreds of Lebanese tourists, smugglers and businessmen are entering Israel every day, the paper said this de facto normalization was most evident at Christmas when thousands of Lebanese took package tours to Jerusalem Tel Aviv. Haifa and other places.


In the opposite direction, Israeli businessmen and truck drivers visit Lebanon freely. “Fifty to 60 trucks laden with Israeli bananas, apples, avocados, tangerines, passion fruit, sugar, poultry, candy and biscuits, plastic ware and construction materials file through Rosh Hanikra daily,” The Financial Times reported.

The Lebanese government, worried by this “dumping” of cheap Israeli goods, is said to have approached Eastern bloc countries to find markets for local agricultural production which would otherwise be unsold.

Twenty litres of Israeli alive oil were selling at 150 Israeli Shekels in south Lebanon, half the cost of producing the same amount in Lebanon. The Financial Times described the southern town of Nabatiyeh as “brimming with Israeli goods” and quoted a local trader as angrily rejecting Lebanese government complaints. “We buy what we can afford,” he said.

On the streets of Beirut, the paper’s reporter saw Israeli avocadoes being sold in boxes labelled “new fruit.” A Moslem vendor of Israeli tangerines said his local Moslem priest had told him “it was all right as long as Israel was not written on the boxes.”

Lebanon may also be serving as a conduit for Israeli goods entering other Arab countries, The Financial Times suggested. It quoted Katarivas as saying that at the beginning of the Israeli push into Lebanon last year, Lebanese interest was mainly focussed on food products. “Now this is dying out and giving way to other goods, such as shoes and plastic ware.”

The Israeli port of Haifa was also being used by Lebanese importers, cutting Lebanese government income from customs income. The transshipment through Haifa opened during the Israeli siege of Beirut and is still operating.

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