Israel greenlights construction materials for new Gaza hospital

17:54, September 30, 2009      

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Israel agreed to allow construction materials into the Gaza Strip to build a new hospital in the besieged Palestinian enclave, local daily The Jerusalem Post reported on Wednesday.

The Qatar-funded project was presented to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by French President Nicolas Sarkozy during the UN General Assembly last week in New York.

Netanyahu Tuesday informed Sarkozy that he would instruct the defense establishment to approve the construction, Israeli officials close to the matter were quoted as saying.

The endorsement, seen by some as a gesture to Sarkozy for France's aggressive stand on the Iranian nuclear issue, would greenlight deliveries of cement and other construction materials into Gaza for the first time since Israel's recent massive operation in the coastal strip launched late last year.

Israel has been hesitant to allow Gaza-bound supplies of construction materials for fear that the Gaza-ruling Hamas movement would use them to make weapons or build its strongholds.

Since Hamas took control of Gaza in 2007, Israel has tightened its blockade upon the enclave, incurring accusations from the international community that the siege has severely worsened the humanitarian situation of some 1.5 million Gaza residents.

Israel allows food, medicine and other basic supplies into Gaza on a roughly regular basis, and denies charges that it has caused a humanitarian crisis in the Palestinian enclave.

Source:Xinhua
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