Israel published Monday its "black list" of goods it will not allow into the Gaza Strip, under a new policy whereby its four-year-old siege of the coastal territory will now be defined by a list of goods to be kept out, rather than by those allowed in.
The banned products include arms and munitions and items which could be used to develop, produce or enhance the military capabilities of the Gaza militias, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
Also forbidden are what the ministry called "materials and equipment liable to be used for terror attacks and technology that could be used by terrorists."
Such material includes chemicals – such as certain fertilizers which could be used in the manufacture of explosives - ball bearings, hunting knives and machetes, certain navigation aides, parachutes, gliders, flares and fireworks and missile-related technology.
Certain building materials - cements, ready concrete, steel elements, which militants could also use for military purposes - will be allowed into the enclave only to facilitate construction projects in Gaza which have been authorized by the Palestinian Authority (PA) and are implemented and monitored by the international community.
In a related development, Defense Minister Ehud Barak met in Jerusalem on Monday afternoon with Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, to plan the transfer of humanitarian goods into the Strip.
Israel imposed its blockade on Gaza shortly after Palestinian militants staged a cross-border raid on June 25, 2006, and snatched Israel Defense Forces soldier Gilad Shalit, who is still being held somewhere in the territory as talks on a possible prisoner swap grind on in fits and starts.
The Israeli cabinet, after coming under massive international pressure, decided in late June to significantly loosen the siege, a move both the PA, and its fierce rival, the Islamist Hamas movement which controls the Strip, said was insignificant.
The White House welcomed the publication as an "important step".
"We believe the list of restricted goods for Gaza announced today will make a significant improvement in the lives of people in Gaza, while keeping weapons out of the hands of Hamas," said spokesman Tommy Vietor.
"This is an important step in implementing the new policy announced by Israel two weeks ago. The president looks forward to discussing it with the prime minister tomorrow."
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