Palestinians pass by unfinished buildings at the UNRWA housing project in Khan Younis, southern Gaza Strip in 2011.(Photo: Eyad Baba, AP)
JERUSALEM -- The Israeli military says tons of building materials
will start crossing daily into the Gaza Strip from Israel if the quiet
along their border holds.
It's the first significant easing of a
near-ban Israel had imposed on such shipments after Hamas militants
seized the Palestinian territory five years ago. The new policy is also
the first key concession to Hamas since an Egyptian-brokered cease-fire
ended eight days of fighting last month.
A military spokesperson
said Monday that Israel began allowing shipments of gravel to Gaza's
private sector on Sunday because the Israeli attacks on Hamas' military
operations in November cowed the militant organization into quiet.
Israel says that construction materials like cement, gravel and metal rods can be used to make fortifications and weapons.