Border economies

06 May 2007 | 241 words | border gaza israel food business

One of the things that has always fascinated me about borders is the way they structure the local economies of adjacent regions. People one the one side suddenly start selling ridiculous amounts of all kind of things that are not available – or much more expensive – on the other side. Particularly vivid examples of this phenomenon can be observed on the fringes of France. The area around Calais is full of shops selling booze and cigarettes to busloads of brits & in Portbou just across the border to Spain where there is not a single store that does not sell Pastis in 5 litter bottles to visiting Frenchmen. Laila adds another although – although completely unrelated to leisurely border crossing – example from the border between Gaza & Israel:

“Yes, you know, the Imsaddar household. Their farms are near the border with Israel, in eastern Gaza… their bees fly across the border and gather pollen from the Kenya trees and Orange groves in their farms. So the honey is just better.”

How is it that honey from bees gathering pollen from trees across the border is better? Is it because the flowers are freer? Less empty or trapped or sad? Less occupied, perhaps?

“I think they just have more trees and flowers there. After all, most of our groves were razed during the Intifada,” explained a friend.

Taken from her excellent ‘Raising Yousuf, Unplugged: diary of a Palestinian mother‘ blog