Israel’s security Cabinet approves easing of Gaza blockade


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel’s security Cabinet voted to ease the blockade on the Gaza Strip.

The security Cabinet reportedly decided Sunday not to remove the naval blockade, but Israel will ease land-based imports to the Gaza Strip. Until now, only items from a preapproved Israeli list were allowed in. Going forward, only specific items will be forbidden, such as those that can be used to produce weapons, according to reports.

In a White House statement Sunday, the United States welcomed the new policy toward Gaza in response to many calls in the international community.

 "Once implemented, we believe these arrangements should significantly improve conditions for Palestinians in Gaza, while preventing the entry of weapons," the statement said.

The statement also said, "We strongly re-affirm Israel’s right to self-defense, and our commitment to work with Israel and our international partners to prevent the illicit trafficking of arms and ammunition into Gaza.  As we approach the fourth anniversary of the capture of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, we call again for his immediate release, and condemn the inhumane conditions of his detention."

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