02 May 2022, Tel Aviv: Two trucks carrying 58 tons of watermelons were seized during the past day, at the Baka checkpoint and at the a-Za’im checkpoint, following intelligence information collected by the Central Unit for Enforcement and Investigations (CUEI) at the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
According to the information, the trucks left from the same point in the Palestinian Authority territories and separated on their way into Israeli territory.
Upon the seizure of the shipment, it became clear that forged documents were attached to the goods, indicating a source of cultivation in the Jordan Valley area, in order to create a false representation of supervised agricultural produce. During the investigation of the drivers, the suspicion arose that the watermelons were intended for marketing through the branches of a large supermarket chain in Israel. Legal proceedings have been instituted against the truck drivers.
The smuggled watermelons were transferred for destruction according to a doctor’s order. The Ministry of Agriculture emphasizes that plant products that enter Israel in an orderly manner are inspected and overseen at border crossings, by the Ministry of Agriculture’s plant protection inspectors. This is in order to make sure that such produce does not carry pests, lesions and pesticide residues. The introduction of produce without such oversight, may cause irreversible damage to local agriculture and poses a danger to public health.
Roi Kliger, the Director of the Central Unit for Enforcement and Investigations at the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, stated: Thanks to the intensive intelligence and operational field work of the CUEI inspectors, we were able to prevent another smuggling attempt that could have taken a very heavy toll on the Israeli public. I reiterate that marketing such products is a violation of the law, and moreover, it poses a danger to public health, as well as to the various branches of agriculture.”