Though the final vote on the issue in the Israeli cabinet has been delayed, Israel is poised to make significant changes in its crippling blockade of the Gaza Strip.
The exact details of the changes have not been made public, but Israel is said to have prepared a shorter list of “banned” goods that aren’t allowed into Gaza through land crossing, potentially removing such banned goods as toys and pencils entirely. Reports also suggest that they may allow an extremely limited amount of cement into the region, badly damaged in a 2009 Israeli invasion.
Israel has been under intensive international pressure to ease the blockade since the attack on a Gaza bound humanitarian aid ship, which left nine aid workers dead and dozens wounded. The ship contained electric wheelchairs, cement and toys, all of which are banned under the current blockade terms as either “dual use” or “luxury” items.
Though publicly Israel has insisted that the blockade is about protecting itself from the tiny enclave, recent documents have come to light revealing that Israel’s government is really looking at the blockade as a form of economic warfare that it can get away with engaging in virtually indefinitely. Pending easing aside, it seems the blockade will be here to stay.