JERUSALEM (JTA) – Israel will transfer cement and other construction materials to Gaza for its reconstruction effort.
The decision announced Wednesday was made by Defense Minister Ehud Barak. The hundreds of tons of cement will reportedly be transferred directly to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, bypassing the terrorist Hamas leaders of the coastal strip.
It is the first time that Israel has allowed cement, metal pipes and other building material into Gaza since last winter’s Operation Cast Lead, Israel had feared that Hamas would use the material for terrorist purposes.
The cement is slated to be used in part to repair and refurbish a flour mill and a sewage treatment plant.
The announcement came on the same day that U.S. National Security Adviser James Jones met with Barak in Tel Aviv and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, following on the heels of meetings this week with other senior U.S. officials. Jones will meet Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah on Thursday.