Israeli cabinet discuss easing Gaza blockade

By Jennifer Lipman, June 16, 2010
Benjamin Netanyahu and Tony Blair have been discussing easing the blockade

Benjamin Netanyahu and Tony Blair have been discussing easing the blockade

Israeli cabinet ministers have met to discuss relaxing the blockade of Gaza.

Members of the security cabinet are looking into allowing around 100 more goods into Gaza.

The meeting has been adjourned and will reconvene later with an announcement expected soon. It comes after the decision earlier in June to ease the blockade by allowing in provisions including Coca Cola, shaving cream and spices.

The blockade has been in place since Hamas won power in the Gaza Strip in 2007. There has been increased international pressure for its removal following the clashes on a flotilla carrying supplies to the area.

Middle East envoy Tony Blair said this week that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had agreed in principle to "significant change" in Israel’s handling of the Gaza blockade.

He announced that a deal had been reached and would go ahead subject to cabinet approval.

Mr Blair told Ha'aretz that the new plans “will allow us to keep weapons and weapon materials out of Gaza, but on the other hand to help the Palestinian population there.”

Other cabinet ministers have also voiced support for a new approach to the land blockade, but Israel's internal security chief, Yuval Diskin , has warned against lifting the naval blockade.

It would “be a very dangerous development”, he told ministers.

Last updated: 2:09pm, June 16 2010