Photo: Amir Cohen
Karni crossing (archives)
Photo: Amir Cohen

Israel allows first import of cars to Gaza since 2007

Private vehicle imports to be allowed into Strip for first time since violent Hamas takeover. Move part of Israel's efforts to ease civilian life; defense establishment says aware of potential dangers

Israel will allow the import of some 20 private vehicles into the Gaza Strip Monday, for the first time since 2007.


The cars, some new and some about three years old, are meant for the private sector, mostly for the purpose of being turned into taxicabs.


According to the office of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, the move represents Israel's efforts to ease civilian life in Gaza.


Monday's shipment of vehicles, transferred through the Kerem Shalom crossing in southern Gaza, will be followed be several shipments, of several dozens of cars, arriving from the West Bank.


The defense establishment said it is aware of the dangers posed by the decision to allow cars into the Hamas-controlled Strip, but nevertheless, the move coincides with the government's decision to apply mitigations to the blockade imposed on Gaza.


Last week saw over 300 tons of building materials shipped to Gaza, meant for sewerage systems rehabilitation. Some 200 truck-loads of food and supply enter Gaza daily.


Israel began quietly easing its blockade of the Hamas-ruled territory in the spring and started allowing all purely civilian goods to enter after its deadly May 31 seizure of a Gaza-bound flotilla sparked international outrage.


In the wake of that tragedy which left nine Turkish activists dead, Israel significantly eased its blockade of Gaza, barring only arms and goods that could be used to create weapons or build fortifications, but it has maintained a naval blockade of the Strip.


Israel and neighboring Egypt first imposed the closures when an Israeli soldier was captured in June 2006 and tightened them when the Islamist Hamas movement -- sworn to Israel's destruction -- seized power a year later.


AFP contributed to this report



פרסום ראשון: 09.20.10, 00:23
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