During the Israel-Hamas truce at the end of last month, 900,000 banknotes totaling NIS 180 million were secretly moved from the north of the Gaza Strip to the south of the Strip, "The Financial Times" (FT) has revealed. The 200 shekel notes, weighing nearly a ton, were transported in a convoy of vehicles.
The unusual mission was supported by the UN under heavy security and was undertaken with the knowledge of Israel.
The banknotes were collected from two branches of the Bank of Palestine in the north of the Strip and the transfer enabled six automated teller machines (ATMs) still operating in the south and the center of the Strip to dispense cash, the FT reported.
The aim of the mission to transfer the banknotes was to bring relief to the Gaza residents and ease the situation in an economy that depends largely on cash. Before the outbreak of the war, UN figures showed that 81% of Gazan lived in poverty and relied on international economic aid.
Since the start of the war and prior to the truce, there was a shortage of banknotes in the south of the Gaza Strip, while electronic transfers are rare and inflation is raging, the FT reports.
The report adds that during the ceasefire, some bank branches in southern Gaza were able to open and provide emergency services and that the Palestinian Authority issued instructions to banks to allow loans to employees who salaries had been reduced or delayed as well as a request to offer emergency financing to companies and postpone the repayments for borrowers.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on December 10, 2023.
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