Israel eases Gaza siege, continues naval blockade

08:44, June 21, 2010      

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Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends a cabinet meeting in his office in Jerusalem June 14, 2010. (Xinhua/Reuters File Photo)

Israeli government Sunday announced moves to loosen its land blockade against the Gaza Strip, but said it will continue the naval lockdown on the Palestinian enclave.

Following a security cabinet meeting, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office released a statement, listing steps to relax the Gaza siege, which include expanding the inflow of goods and smoothening the procedure for people to enter or leave the strip.

Israel keeps the right to decide the kind of goods allowed into the coastal area, but has agreed to let more in.

The Israeli authorities will publish a list of banned items, including weapons and "problematic" dual-use materials, to replace the current list of permitted products. All goods that are not on the list will be allowed to enter.

Unnamed sources told Xinhua that following the announcement, the Kerem-Shalom, a border crossing in southeast Gaza for delivery of humanitarian supplies, will expand its capacity by 30 percent on Monday and allow in some 130 truckloads of goods per day.

Israel will let construction materials for civilian projects enter Gaza under international supervision, the statement said, adding the projects must be authorized by the Palestinian National Authority, and receive approval from the Israeli government.

Israel has been hesitant to allow in Gaza-bound supplies of construction materials for fear that the Islamic resistance movement Hamas, which now controls Gaza, would use them to make weapons or build strongholds.

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