Israel to Ease Gaza Blockade

Israel will liberalize the system under which humanitarian goods are transferred into the Gaza Strip, according to a security cabinet decision Thursday morning.

A statement released by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's media adviser said that included in the adjustments to Israel's Gaza policy would be an expansion of "the inflow of materials for civilian projects that are under international supervision."

Israel's decision today to allow a partial easing of the blockade of Gaza was given a cool response by the international community, while Palestinians demanded the blockade be lifted completely. Aid agencies condemned it as inadequate.

The move, triggered by anger over Israel's bloody interception of the Gaza "freedom flotilla," is expected to end restrictions on food and some other consumer items entering the coastal territory. But there was no relief for urgently needed construction materials for private building or for cross-border trade and movement.