White House welcomes looser hold on Gaza
President Barack Obama's chief spokesman, Robert Gibbs, says Israel's decision to allow all foods and some construction materials into the Gaza Strip is a "step in the right direction."
International pressure against the blockade mounted last month...
Eased Gaza Blockade Means Less Pressure on Hamas -Yaakov Katz
The [Israeli] government's decision to ease the blockade on Gaza will make it difficult for Israel to use its leverage over Hamas to free kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit [pictured above], cease terrorist activity and hold reconciliation talks with Fatah, Israeli defense officials said.
Netanyahu: Security Blockade on Gaza Will Only Get Stronger -Barak Ravid
Senior Israeli cabinet ministers approved steps toward easing Israel's land blockade of Gaza.
"We have deprived Hamas of the ability to blame Israel for hurting the civilian population [of Gaza] and our friends around the world are getting behind our decision and giving international legitimacy to the security blockade on Hamas."
Sources inside the prime minister's office explained, "In the wake of this decision, the world's focus will be on the Kassam rockets Hamas is firing out of Gaza and not the coriander that Israel isn't allowing in." Another official said, "The new policy will prevent absurdities like blocking shipments of pasta to Gaza and will strengthen Israel's international position in enforcing a security closure. It will also strengthen Israel's moral standing in its demand to free [captured Israeli soldier] Gilad Shalit."
Israel's new policy will allow an inflow of construction material into Gaza for projects approved by the Palestinian Authority or under the auspices of international supervision, including schools, health facilities, water treatment and sanitation. The new policy will also allow humanitarian aid to be brought into Gaza in a more effective way and to ease movement in and out of the territory.