Israel to ease Gaza embargo

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Israel to ease Gaza embargo

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Israel has said it will ease the land blockade of Gaza to allow more goods into the Palestinian territory. Pressure has been mounting following a deadly raid by Israeli commandos on an aid flotilla bound for the coastal strip.

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri dismissed the move as trivial:

‘‘We’re in need of raw materials for construction for the rebuilding process, such as cement and iron. Even if all items were allowed in we’re not looking for the siege to be eased, we’re looking for it to be totally lifted.

The new measures will see an increase in food and some household items. But critics say the devil is in the detail.

Desperately needed construction materials to rebuild the war-torn territory will be allowed, however they will only enter for civilian projects under international supervision – most likely the UN.

The strict naval blockade will also remain.The Israeli government has defended its stance. Government spokesman Mark Regev said:

‘‘We must remain with the security procedures that prevent the import into Gaza of weapons and war materials that could strengthen the Hamas military machine.’‘

The botched assault on the Gaza bound flotilla saw nine pro-Palestinian activists being killed and resulted in widespread international condemnation.