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Israel to ease Gaza blockade

Move to calm international storm over flotilla assault.

June 18, 2010 7:48 by

In a bid to calm international anger over its assault on a flotilla of aid ships, Israel announced today that it will ease its blockade of the Gaza strip, reports the Guardian.

A statement from prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s office said that Israeli leaders decided today to expand the number of products Israel will allow into Gaza, including construction materials. However the naval blockade will remain.

“It was agreed to liberalise the system by which civilian goods enter Gaza [and] expand the inflow of materials for civilian projects that are under international supervision,” said the statement. But as yet, no details on what products this will include have been released.

The arrangements are the result of a series of meetings involving Middle East envoy Tony Blair and Netanyahu, says the paper, and are thought to concentrate on three areas:

A list of prohibited goods not allowed into Gaza, replacing the current system of a list of approved goods.

Agreement to allow construction materials for UN-sponsored projects.

Israel to consider allowing EU monitors to be stationed at crossings between Israel and Gaza.

“It will allow us to keep weapons and weapon materials out of Gaza, but on the other hand to help the Palestinian population there,” Blair told the Israeli daily Haaretz. “The policy in Gaza should be to isolate the extremists but to help the people.”

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