PM Netanyahu on the Israeli Decision to Ease Blockade of Gaza
(June 20, 2010)
The Israeli Security Cabinet voted to further ease the land blockade on the Gaza Strip to allow in all food items and additional humanitarian aid. Weapons and related materials used to build weapons will still be prohibited.
Israel's policy is to protect its citizens against terror, rocket and other attacks from Gaza. In seeking to keep weapons and war materiel out of Gaza while liberalizing the system by which civilian goods enter Gaza, the Government of Israel has decided to implement the following steps as quickly as possible:
1. Publish a list of items not permitted into Gaza that is limited to weapons and war materiel, including problematic dual-use items. All items not on this list will be permitted to enter Gaza.
2. Enable and expand the inflow of dual-use construction materials for approved PA-authorized projects (schools, health facilities, water, sanitation, etc.) that are under international supervision and for housing projects such as the U.N. housing development being completed at Khan Yunis. Israel intends to accelerate the approval of such projects in accordance with accepted mechanisms and procedures.
3. Expand operations at the existing operating land crossings, thereby enabling the processing of a significantly greater volume of goods through the crossings and the expansion of economic activity.
4. Add substantial capacity at the existing operating land crossings and, as more processing capacity becomes necessary and when security concerns are fully addressed, open additional land crossings.
5. Streamline the policy of permitting the entry and exit of people for humanitarian and medical reasons and that of employees of international aid organizations that are recognized by the GOI. As conditions improve, Israel will consider additional ways to facilitate the movement of people to and from Gaza.
6. Israel will continue to facilitate the expeditious inspection and delivery of goods bound for Gaza through the port of Ashdod.
Israel welcomes cooperation and coordination with its international and regional partners in implementing this policy and will continue to discuss with them additional ways to advance this policy.
The current security regime for Gaza will be maintained. Israel reiterates that along with the U.S., EU and others, it considers Hamas a terrorist organization. The international community must insist on a strict adherence to the Quartet principles regarding Hamas.
Hamas took over Gaza and turned it into a hostile territory from which Hamas prepares and carries out attacks against Israel and its citizens. The Israel Defense Forces will continue to prevent the flow into and out of Gaza of terrorist operatives, weapons, war material and dual use items which enhance the military capability of Hamas and other terrorist groups in Gaza. Israel calls on the international community to stop the smuggling of weapons and war materials into Gaza.
Gilad Shalit is approaching four years in captivity. The international community should join Israel in strongly condemning those who hold him captive and in redoubling their efforts to secure his immediate release.
Source: Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs