Israel to Allow “Civilian Goods” into Gaza

Israel is reportedly set to limit its Gaza blockade to military items and other materials that may help Hamas improve its military capabilities. According to a CNN report, the Israeli Cabinet has approved the lifting of the blockade against all civilian goods.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to announce the decision later on Sunday. Flow of essential goods into the disputed Gaza Strip has been hampered since Israel imposed the blockade in an effort to prevent the group Hamas from bringing in weapons and other military equipment.

The decision to ease the blockade comes three weeks since Israel was criticized for its deadly raid of a Turkish-volunteers led aid flotilla. Israeli naval officers killed nine people aboard one of the ships headed for the Gaza Strip. The raid resulted in outcry from rights groups and the international community, with the United Nations suggesting that Israel allows an independent investigation of the incident.

Israel defended the raid by saying that its security forces were attacked by Palestinian sympathizers, adding that the government was capable of conducting an impartial investigation of the incident.