Maj. Gen. Eitan Dangot, the coordinator of government activities in the territories, has informed Palestinian representatives that Israel is prepared to increase the transfer of goods to Gaza through the Kerem Shalom crossing by 30%, beginning Monday.
Earlier Sunday, Israel announced it was easing the blockade of Gaza by replacing a list of allowed items with a list of banned goods limited to weapons and materials deemed to have military uses.
The Security Cabinet approved the new system, according to which practically all non-military items can enter Gaza freely. For the past three years, Israel has allowed only basic humanitarian supplies in. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman are expected to devise the new list.
Some 100 trucks cross into the Hamas-ruled territory each day. Israel told the Palestinians it was willing to immediately increase that amount to 130 if it is requested to do so.
Knesset Member Yoel Hasson (Kadima) criticized Netanyahu over the government's decision to ease the blockade on Gaza. "Now it is official. Netanyahu is prone to pressure and is a weak prime minister who pays heavy prices for his lack of policy. Netanyahu is sending a dangerous message that terrorism pays off," said Hasson.
MK Nachman Shai (Kadima) said that the Gaza blockade policy "went bankrupt." "Now it is clear that the decision making processes in the government on the eve of the flotilla raid and after it must be investigated immediately," he added.
Industry, Labor, and Trade Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer praised the national security cabinet's decision to ease the blockade.
"This is the best decision the cabinet could have made at the right time," said Ben-Eliezer, adding, "This decision proves to the world that the State of Israel has nothing against the civilian population in Gaza and that our only goal is to ensure the security of Israel."
Sources in Gaza told Ynet that Israeli declarations on easing the blockade are meaningless, and intended to fend off international pressure on Israel.
According to a Hamas figure, the declarations will not lead to any real easing of Gaza's distress.
The sources noted that the real lack is in electrical goods, especially medical instruments, and in building materials and steel. "Any change that does not include these things is merely cosmetic, intended to make the blockade look better," one of the sources said.
Hanan Greenberg, Attila Somfalvi, Ali Waked and AP contributed to the report