Israel eases Gaza land blockade

By Jessica Elgot, June 17, 2010
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Palestinians in Gaza will have new products allowed through the blockade

Palestinians in Gaza will have new products allowed through the blockade

The Israeli government is to ease the blockade of Gaza, expanding what is allowed into the region by road.

The government said in a statement: "It was agreed to liberalize the system by which civilian goods enter Gaza, to expand the inflow of materials for civilian projects that are under international supervision.”

Although products have not been specified, the security cabinet is expected to allow more than 100 new items to enter the territory. The naval blockade, which the activists on the Gaza flotilla attempted to break, will remain.

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 said 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.”

Last updated: 10:31am, June 17 2010