A cable leaked by WikiLeaks claims Israeli officials at the Karni crossing into Gaza took bribes from US companies trying to transfer goods into the Strip.
The 2006 cable, which says "US businesses allege that corruption by Israeli officials at Karni crossing is impeding their access to the Gaza market", was leaked exclusively by Norway's Aftenposten.
The cable was compiled from sources in both the US embassy in Tel Aviv and the Jerusalem consulate general. It says that American goods worth $1.9 million waited at the Karni crossing for over three months before being permitted into Gaza.
The goods had been produced by companies such as Coca-Cola, Caterpillar, Phillip Morris, Hewlett Packard, and Motorola.
The businessmen cited in the cable said they were forced to pay commission 75 times larger than normally paid at the crossing. One businessman accused both the crossing's management and middlemen companies handling logistics of corruption.
"These businessmen have criticized the fact that calls to the phone reservation system for receiving a date and time to cross are never answered and that their discussions with (government) officials have resulted in only temporary (one or two day) improvements," the cable says.
Coca-Cola's distributor identified one "high-level official at the terminal" who headed the bribery ring. "Directly under him… are an Arab-Israeli, another Israeli civilian, and two IDF officers," the cable says.
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