'Fertilizer on Gaza negative list'

PM expected to show complete list of disallowed items to Obama.

June 28, 2010 04:31
4 minute read.
Gaza bound truck

311_Gaza crossing. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski/The Jerusalem Post))

Israel hopes to have the new “negative” list of what is not allowed into the Gaza Strip ready by the time Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu meets US President Barack Obama in Washington on July 6, government sources said Sunday.

The sources said the list of what is not permitted into the Gaza Strip, which will include some 100 items that Israel feels could be used for military purposes, is being drawn up by the Prime Minister’s Office together with the IDF.

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The decision to have a list of what is prohibited, rather than a list of what is permitted, is one of the changes in the government’s policies toward Gaza that was agreed upon last week.

The underlying idea is that a negative list will allow more goods into the region, and will prevent a situation where goods such as coriander, pasta and children’s toys are not allowed in.

According to government sources, anything not on the list will be allowed in automatically.

Among the items expected on the list are telescopes, firecrackers, certain types of fertilizer and sulfur. Even some of the materials which are likely to be on the list will not be completely barred, but will be allowed in if earmarked for projects under international supervision, the sources said.

Kerry: Congress, US administration pleased with Israeli steps

US Senator John Kerry, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, met separately Sunday with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres, and told Peres that “everyone in Congress and in the administration” was pleased with the steps Israel has taken to ease up on what is allowed into Gaza.

Regarding the diplomatic process with the Palestinians, Kerry, according to a statement put out by Peres’ office, said there were “significant opportunities to advance the peace process” and that “time is the enemy for all of us here.”

“We need to get this moving because the patience of people who have been waiting a long time on both sides, on all sides, has been tried. And needless to say, there are those who want to exploit every moment of delay in the worst ways. So I think it is incumbent on all of us to try and push this process as effectively as we can,” Kerry said.

Peres calls for 'secret channel' in talks with the Palestinians

Peres told Kerry that it was important to upgrade the talks with the Palestinians from indirect to direct negotiations, and that it was also necessary to have a “secret channel, because everything made public is no longer negotiations, but rather public relations.

Both Iran and easing of the blockade on Gaza is expected to be high on the agenda of talks Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman are scheduled to hold Tuesday with visiting Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

Lavrov is scheduled to arrive Monday evening and go directly to a meeting with Lieberman. He is scheduled to meet Lieberman a second time Tuesday morning, followed by a meeting with Netanyahu, before going to Ramallah and meetings with the Palestinian leadership.

Russia, along with Turkey and Norway, has maintained contact with Hamas even though the Quartet – which includes the US, EU, UN and Russia – has said the international community would not engage with the organization until it recognized Israel, disavowed terrorism and accepted previous Palestinian-Israel agreements.

'Baltic states compare Nazism to Communism'

Other visitors expected to arrive Monday are Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves and Bulgarian Foreign Minister Nikolai Mladenov, who has been characterized as one of the most supportive foreign ministers toward Israel in the EU.

Regarding the Estonian president’s visit, Efraim Zuroff, the director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Israel office, called on the government to raise the issue of Ilves signing the 2008 Prague Declaration, put forward by some 40 east and central European intellectuals, which called for a joint commemoration day for the victims of the Nazis and the communists, something Zuroff said would make a Holocaust Memorial Day superfluous, and a joint research institute for totalitarian crimes, which Zuroff said would make institutions such as Yad Vashem redundant.

According to Zuroff, the Baltic States are pushing for a false symmetry between victims of communism and Nazism.

“This is the greatest threat to the future of Holocaust memory,” Zuroff said, because all victims of totalitarian regimes will be lumped into one basket, and in the process those who carried out the Holocaust will get a “pass” if they were later victimized by Communists.

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