12 Jun 2010

Israel seeks help to ease Gaza embargo

8:44 pm on 12 June 2010

Israel says it wants to enlist global support to improve the flow of civilian goods to the blockaded Gaza Strip, while ensuring that weapons do not reach the territory, which is ruled by Hamas.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is under rising pressure to ease an embargo on Gaza since a Turkish-backed aid flotilla was fatally halted at sea on 31 May, has held talks on the issue with Middle East envoy Tony Blair.

His office said in a statement the aim of the meeting was to "recruit international support behind the principle that weapons and military supportive material will not reach Gaza or Hamas, while humanitarian and civilian goods may reach the area and its residents".

Israel further eased restrictions on goods to Gaza this week by announcing it would permit additional food items such as snack foods and carbonated beverages to be imported via Israeli-controlled crossings, starting next week.

The bloackade was imposed after Hamas rose to power in 2006.