Israeli Government Releases Details Concerning Easing of Gaza Strip Blockade

Israel has released details of how it proposes to ease its blockade of the Gaza Strip, saying all civilian goods will now be allowed in, including raw materials and supplies for specific building projects.

Israel will allow items into Gaza unless they feature on a new list which specifies banned goods.

Israel's decision to ease the impact of a three-year blockade on Gaza appears to have relieved diplomatic pressure on the Jewish state following the fatal intercept of a protest flotilla. But critics warn that the partial measure, which does not include lifting the naval blockade, may not be enough to revive Gaza's economy and relieve the distress of the 1.5 million Palestinians living there.

Three weeks after the violent incidents surrounding the Gaza-bound flotilla, Israel decided on Sunday to dramatically ease its blockade of the Gaza Strip. Under heavy international pressure and concern about additional flotillas that may try to break the naval blockade of the Strip, the security cabinet decided Sunday to change the blockade policy. The decision was delayed a few days due to diplomatic efforts to obtain the support of Egypt and the Palestinian Authority for the changes.