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US wants parties to act responsibly amid easing of Gaza curbs

Welcoming Israel`s new policy to allow all "civilian" goods into the Gaza Strip, the US today asked the parties to act responsibly to meet the needs of the people of the enclave.



Washington: Welcoming Israel`s new policy
to allow all "civilian" goods into the Gaza Strip, the US
today asked the parties to act responsibly to meet the needs
of the people of the enclave.

"We believe that the implementation of the policy
announced by the Government of Israel today should improve
life for the people of Gaza, and we will continue to support
that effort going forward," said Robert Gibbs, the White House
Press Secretary.

Israel`s cabinet today gave its approval to ease the
three-year land blockade of the Gaza Strip to allow all
"civilian" goods into the enclave in a bid to quell mounting
international criticism following a bloody sea raid on an aid
flotilla bound for the Hamas-run territory.

The cabinet, however, did not remove the naval
blockade of the coastal territory despite being under intense
pressure following a deadly Israeli navy raid on aid flotilla
on May 31 trying to break the siege.

Gibbs asked all those wishing to deliver goods to do
so through established channels so that their cargo can be
inspected and transferred via land crossings into Gaza.

"There is no need for unnecessary confrontations, and
we call on all parties to act responsibly in meeting the needs
of the people of Gaza," Gibbs underlined.

The key Israel decision came ahead of a planned July 6
meeting in Washington between Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu and US President Barack Obama, who has called the
humanitarian situation in Gaza "unsustainable."

Gibbs said the US President made it clear that
Washington demands fundamental change.

"The President described these projects as a down
payment on the US commitment to the people of Gaza, who
deserve a chance to take part in building a viable,
independent state of Palestine, together with those who live
in the West Bank," the top White House official said in a
statement.

Gibbs said the "United States welcomes the new policy
towards Gaza announced by the Government of Israel, which
responds to the calls of many in the international community".

"We will work with Israel, the Palestinian Authority,
the Quartet, and other international partners to ensure these
arrangements are implemented as quickly and effectively as
possible and to explore additional ways to improve the
situation in Gaza, including greater freedom of movement and
commerce between Gaza and the West Bank," Gibbs said.

At the same time, Gibbs made it clear that US strongly
re-affirm Israel’s right to self-defence, and its commitment
to work with Israel and its international partners to prevent
the illicit trafficking of arms and ammunition into Gaza.

PTI

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