On January 26, Gaza’s Ministry of Economics announced that it will end its five-year boycott of Israeli products, the Palestinian Ma’an news agency reported.

Many factories and processing facilities, which normally provide Gaza residents with food and other goods, were destroyed in Operation Protective Edge, this summer’s conflict with Hamas and Israel, and rebuilding has been slow. In addition, Israel and Egypt have destroyed many of the tunnels that Hamas uses to illegally import goods into the Gaza Strip, and Egypt has set up a buffer zone to further limit Hamas’s smuggling efforts.

As a result of this pressure by Israel and Egypt, many products that were previously supplied locally or smuggled in illegally are now only available through legal, Israeli shipments.

“The last war led to the destruction of thousands of factories, which affected the production power (in Gaza), and to fill that gap we decided to allow Zionist products in,” Imad al-Baz, an assistant deputy of the ministry, said.

Israeli products have entered the Gaza Strip in the past five years and been sold there, but their purchase was officially condemned by the Hamas government that runs the Palestinian enclave.

“We decided to allow (Israeli) products to enter so that the market is not hindered and so products are available,” al-Baz said.