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Wikileaks Israel-Palestine Document: How U.S. Distributors Bribed Israelis to Bring Goods Into Gaza

Israeli officials may have told Americans in 2008 that "they intend to keep the Gazan economy functioning at the lowest level possible consistent with avoiding a humanitarian crisis" (see our separate entry), but another U.S. embassy cable from 2006 indicates a possible way around the siege: bribing Israelis were bribed to accept US goods into Gaza.

The US Embassy in Israel reported, "As of late May 34 shipments of American goods, amounting to nearly USD 1.9 million dollars, have been waiting three to four months to cross into Gaza." However, these could be released by paying Israeli officials "special fees" which was 75 times higher than the normal processing charge.

For example, for $3000 you could get the "first place in line" or a spot "near the head of the Israeli line, which does move". Some American firms were paying up to $28,000 for a single truckload to get into Gaza.

The "bribery ring" included Israeli civilian officials, businessmen, and Israel Defense Force officers.

The Embassy concluded with the recommendation that the Ambassador meet with "ministerial-level" officials to seek a solution.

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