Washington has welcomed the news that Israel is to ease its blockade of Gaza and allow what it describes as “civilian” goods into the Palestinian territory.
Construction materials for UN specified projects are to be allowed along with previously bizarely banned items such as toilet paper, snacks and certain spices.
Until now such goods have been smuggled into Gaza through tunnels beneath the border with Egypt and sold at inflated prices.
Britain’s Tony Blair, the representative of the Middle-east peace Quartet welcomed the move. It comes after international condemnation of Israel’s recent raid on a flotilla of aid ships which tried to break the four year long embargo. Nine activists were killed in the attack.
Hamas spokesman,Ismail Radwan said it was not enough. “This is an attempt to circumvent the international demand to completely lift the siege of Gaza. This is an attempt to deflect the pressure and popular anger at the Islamic and Arab level, as well as by the free people of the world who are all calling for the lifting of the siege on Gaza.”
Israel argues the blockade of Gaza’s 1.5 million inhabitants is necessary to prevent weapons from reaching Hamas militants who run the region.