End blockade, EU ministers tell Israel


JERUSALEM (JTA) — European Union foreign ministers called for the lifting of the Gaza blockade and a "credible, independent" inquiry into Israel’s interception of a Gaza-bound flotilla.

The call came in a statement released Monday afternoon following a meeting of the EU’s Committee on Foreign Affairs in Luxembourg with the foreign ministers of the 27 EU states.

The committee also called for the release of Gilad Shalit or to allow the Red Cross to visit the captured Israeli soldier in Gaza. It also recognized Israel’s "legitimate security concerns, including the need to cease all violence and arms smuggling into Gaza."

The EU ministers reportedly want Israel to switch from banning most goods into Gaza to banning a small number of specific goods. Quartet Mideast envoy Tony Blair told the ministers that he believed Israel would ease the blockade within days, according to reports.

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