JERUSALEM, (AP) – A U.S. diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks quotes American officials as saying a key Israeli cargo crossing for goods entering the Gaza Strip was rife with corruption.
The June 14, 2006, cable, published Thursday by Norway’s Aftenposten daily, says major American companies told U.S. diplomats they were forced to pay hefty bribes to get goods into Gaza.
It quotes a Coca-Cola executive as saying he was asked to pay more than $3,000 to get a truckload of merchandise through. The executive claimed an unidentified “high-level official” at the crossing headed the corruption ring.
The alleged corruption occurred a year before Hamas overran Gaza and Israel imposed an economic blockade.
At that time, however, Israeli-Palestinian violence frequently closed the border crossings.