Israel Eases Ban On Building Materials For Gaza
By ARON HELLER and IBRAHIM BARZAK
JERUSALEM (AP) â¿¿ In a major concession to Gaza's Hamas leaders Monday, Israel dropped its five-year ban on construction materials crossing into the territory and raised hopes there that rebuilding could begin following a damaging eight-day Israeli air campaign.
The easing of restrictions is an outgrowth of the cease-fire that ended the airstrikes and months of daily rocket fire from Gaza at Israel. Contacts mediated by Egypt to follow up the truce produced the concession, and Israel promised to keep easing the lives of Gaza's 1.6 million residents, as long as Israelis were no longer targeted by rocket fire by Gaza militants.
How long the new arrangement holds could serve as a test case for the brittle truce between the bitter enemies. It also reflects a new power equation, with neighboring Egypt under the control of the Muslim Brotherhood, the parent group of Hamas.Israel, together with Egypt, imposed a land and naval embargo on Gaza after Hamas violently overtook the territory in 2007. Although Israel eased the restrictions in 2010, building materials such as cement, gravel and metal rods were still largely banned because Israel claimed militants could use them to make fortifications and weapons. Hundreds of smuggling tunnels under the Gaza-Egypt border gave Gaza a conduit for all manner of goods as well as weapons, though the blockade remained intact. During eight days of violence in November, the Israeli military said 1,500 rockets were fired at Israel, including the first from Gaza to strike the Tel Aviv and Jerusalem areas. The rocket attacks killed six Israelis and wounded dozens. Israeli airstrikes killed 169 Palestinians, many of them militants, and caused considerable damage. Israel said it targeted Hamas installations and government buildings. As part of a cease-fire agreement brokered by Egypt's new Islamist leaders, Israel agreed to consider new border arrangements in return for a complete cessation of rocket fire.
Select the service that is right for you!COMPARE ALL SERVICES
- $2.5+ million portfolio
- Large-cap and dividend focus
- Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
- Weekly roundups
Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.
- Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
- Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
- A custom stock screener
- Upgrade/downgrade alerts
- Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
- Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
- Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
- Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Ultra-actionable trading ideas
- 100+ monthly options trading ideas
- Actionable options commentary & news
- Real-time trading community
- Options TV