Israel allows devastated Gaza to export 'flowers'

Israel has allowed the devastated Gaza Strip to export "flowers" through Israeli territory.

Israel allows devastated Gaza to export 'flowers'

Israel has allowed the devastated Gaza Strip to export "flowers" through Israeli territory, in addition to strawberries it permitted earlier, officials said on Wednesday.

A 22-day Israeli military offensive, which ended in January 2009, devastated Gaza's infrastructure and homes to rubble.

For 18 months afterwards, Israel banned the import of cement and other construction materials.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office said in a statement Israel's security cabinet had approved an "additional easing of restrictions to permit and expansion of commercial exports from the Gaza Strip," without giving details.

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri warned of the Israeli move. "We urge all parties not to be fooled by this Israeli propaganda," he said.

Palestinian officials in Gaza said three truckloads of flowers and strawberries destined for Europe had been exported on Tuesday and four more mixed loads would head out on Wednesday. Strawberry exports had been relaunched last month.

A coalition of humanitarian groups said, last month, an "easing" of Israel's blockade on the Gaza Strip has not had any impact on residents of the Palestinian coastal enclave, instead only reduced international pressure on Israel.

More than half of Gaza's population relies on U.N. food aid.

Israel announced it would ease siege on Gaza in response to mounting international pressure after its soldiers killed nine Turkish activists in a May 31 commando raid on a flotilla of aid ships trying to break the siege.

Gazans have limited freedom of movement and Israel still enforces its naval blockade.


Agencies

Last Mod: 08 Aralık 2010, 17:41
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