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Israel to allow some new items into Gaza

Israel will soon allow snacks and some other previously restricted goods into Gaza, a Palestinian official said on Wednesday, while maintaining an embargo on many badly needed construction materials and industrial goods.



Gaza City: Israel will soon allow snacks
and some other previously restricted goods into Gaza, a
Palestinian official said on Wednesday, while maintaining an embargo
on many badly needed construction materials and industrial
goods.

The move comes as international opposition to the
border closures has surged in the wake of Israel`s seizure of
an activist aid flotilla last week, during which naval
commandos shot dead nine Turkish activists.
"Israeli authorities will permit the entry of a number
of goods that were previously forbidden at the start of next
week," said Raed Fatuh, the head of the Gaza liaison office
run by the Western-backed Palestinian Authority.

He said the goods included fizzy drinks, juices,
fruits, salads, biscuits and chips.

He added that Israel is currently allowing in some 130
types of items, compared to the 4,000 that were brought in
before Israel tightened sanctions on the territory following
the Islamist Hamas takeover in June 2007.

An Israeli military spokesman said a decision to allow
in additional goods, including sweets and jams, was taken a
few weeks ago and was not related to the flotilla incident.

The move came as Egypt opened its Rafah crossing with
Gaza - the only terminal bypassing Israel - to some students,
visa-holders and patients, as well as shipments of
humanitarian aid.

Israel has always allowed in basic goods, and
household items, while appliances are brought in through
smuggling tunnels from Egypt which are regulated by Hamas and
also used to smuggle in weapons.
But Israel only recently began allowing in
construction materials for some UN projects, and cement and
iron brought through the tunnels are beyond the means of most
Gazans, 80 per cent of whom rely on foreign aid.

PTI

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