Just hours after the dramatic decision to ease the Gaza Strip blockade and lift various restrictions, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu explained the significance of the decision Sunday night. In a closed conversation, Netanyahu said this is "no civilian blockade on Gaza, but only a security blockade."
"The security blockade is tightened now," the prime minister said, "because we have taken away Hamas' ability to blame Israel for harming the civilian population and because our friends around the world are backing us up on this decision and granting legitimacy to the continued security blockade against Hamas."
"We have taken the right decision for Israel from a security and political point of view," Netanyahu asserted.
The prime minister, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Defense Minister Ehud Barak will determine which items will be prevented from entering the Strip. Following a Ynet investigation, it seems thousands of items are forbidden, including aluminum products, various metals and fertilizers.
A source close to the prime minister said Sunday night, "The new policy which allows pasta to enter Gaza freely also bolsters our ability to face the world and receive legitimacy for a security blockade. It also strengthens our moral position in our demand that the international community work relentlessly towards releasing (captive IDF soldier) Gilad Shalit."
Netanyahu's aides criticized former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's government, saying the fact that it prohibited basic goods from entering Gaza made it difficult for Israel to maintain a security blockade.
"The previous policy, which banned the entry of coriander into Gaza, was criticized by our friends around the world," one aide said. "The new policy is better, clearer and serves our true goal, which is to prevent any threat to the citizens of Israel."