Israel has decided to lift restrictions on the entry of a trickle of consumer goods into Gaza, but the move appears to be just a publicity stunt, observers say.
Israel’s international reputation is still in tatters as a result of the attack on the Freedom Flotilla in international waters in the Mediterranean Sea on May 31, which left nine Turkish citizens on board the M.V. Mavi Marmara dead and injured about 50 other people who were part of the team on the six-ship convoy, which was attempting to break the siege of Gaza in order to deliver 10,000 tons of humanitarian assistance to the long-suffering people of the territory.
Israel plans to maintain tight restrictions on the transfer of construction materials into Gaza, which is still in ruins from the December 2008-January 2009 war, which left over 1,400 Palestinians dead and inflicted more than $1.6 billion in damage on Gaza’s economy.
On Monday, the Associated Press quoted an Israeli official as saying that items like iron and steel would only find their way into Gaza in coordination with the Palestinian Authority.
Meanwhile, the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas and high-profile international personalities are continuing their calls for Israel to lift the blockade immediately, with no conditions.
Currently in its fourth year, the blockade has deprived 1.5 million Gazans of food, fuel, and other necessities.