Monday, June 21, 2010

Netanyahu: Security blockade on Gaza will only get stronger

Netanyahu: Security blockade on Gaza will only get stronger :: :: informazione dal medio oriente :: information from middle east :: []

Senior cabinet ministers on Sunday approved steps toward easing Israel's land blockade of the Gaza Strip, days after Jerusalem had issued a non-binding declaration supporting such a move.

"There will be no civilian closure of Gaza but there will be a security closure," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said after the meeting. "That security closure will be tightened from now on."

He added: "We have deprived Hamas of the ability to blame Israel for hurting the civilian population [of Gaza] and our friends around the world are getting behind our decision and giving international legitimacy to the security blockade on Hamas."

Sources inside the prime minister's office expressed satisfaction with the move. "In the wake of this decision, the world's focus will be on the Qassam rockets Hamas is firing out of Gaza and not the coriander that Israel isn't allowing in," one senior aide told Haaretz.

Another official said the policy reversal would have been the right move, even without Israel's raid on Gaza-bound aid flotilla three weeks ago, which left nine activists dead and stepped up pressure on Israel to lift the siege.

"The new policy will prevent absurdities like blocking shipments of pasta to Gaza and will strengthen Israel's international position in enforcing a security closure. It will also strengthenl Israel's moral standing in its demand to free [captured Israeli soldier] Gilad Shalit.

The decision drew praise from the White House and criticism from the Hamas rulers of the Gaza Strip, who called it "deception" and said that the blockade must be lifted entirely.

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