Israel allowed building materials to cross the border into Gaza as part of the ceasefire agreement that required the Jewish nation to ease the blockade it imposed on the Gaza Strip after Hamas seized control of the region in 2007.
Included in the shipment of building materials was gravel intended for a private construction project in the region.
The move has been expected as part of the Egyptian-brokered ceasefire agreement, which ended eight days of fighting between Israel and fighters in Gaza, according to Al Jazeera. Raed Fattouh, who is familiar with the document, stated:
“This is the first time gravel has been allowed into Gaza for the Palestinian private sector since the blockade.”
Israel already eased some restrictions in 2010, bowing to international pressure. They allowed international aid agencies to import construction material into the region. Egypt also allowed building material into the Gaza Strip over the weekend through its Rafah crossing.
The move ended a six-year ban on the materials and was part of a shipment donated by Qatar. The Gulf Arab state has pledged $400 million to finance reconstruction in Gaza. Reuters notes that about Gaza economists estimate that about 70 percent of the region’s commercial needs, including building materials and fuel, are being met through shipments sent via Israel.
One Palestinian official also stated that they have been promised “other building items” will be allowed into the region by Israel in the next few days. The official added, “Israel has promised to ease the blockade more if the truce continues to hold.”
Silvan Shalom, Israel’s Vice Prime Minister, stated that more than 300 truckloads of goods and building materials have been taken from Israel to the Gaza strip on a daily basis. Shalom added, “They can have much more if they would like to.”