Israel Allows More Exports From Gaza to West Bank and Abroad

Security cabinet approves move in bid to ease the lives of the population in Gaza; government believes 'steps will have positive impact on Israel's international stance.'

The security cabinet approved Wednesday to significantly increase exports of goods from the Gaza Strip to the West Bank and abroad, further easing Israel's blockade of the Hamas-ruled territory.

The purpose of the decision is to try to ease pressure on the population in Gaza, which is being subjected to oppression under the Hamas regime, a statement by the Prime Minister's Office read.

Cabinet ministers were presented with data on economic growth in the Gaza Strip, which is expected to continue until the end of 2010.

The ministers were notified that in the last few months, the cabinet approved seventy-eight projects in Gaza sponsored by international organizations and foreign countries in the fields of health, infrastructure, water, sewage, housing, and education.

The cabinet announcement also stipulated that alongside Israel's efforts to better the economic situation of the population in Gaza, Israel would demand that the international community continue its boycott of the Hamas regime and continue taking steps to prevent Hamas from attaining missiles.

Gaza truck border cross
Getty Images

"Arming Hamas is against international law, harms the interests of the population in Gaza, and it will harm Israel's ability to continue easing and bettering the economic situation in Gaza," the announcement said.

The exports, which will occur through the Kerem Shalom crossing point in southern Gaza, will include three types of goods: furniture, farming products and light industry products.

The exports from Gaza to foreign countries will be unrestricted, while exports to the West Bank will be for specific projects in coordination with the Palestinian Authority.

Additionally, PA inspectors will begin to work in the Keren Shalom crossing, and oversee the collection of import taxes and the export of goods from Gaza to the West Bank.

This would mark the first return of Palestinian Authority officials to the Gaza Strip since the Hamas takeover in June 2007.

"These steps will have a positive impact on Israel's stance in the international community," a draft of the proposal read.