Israel resumes Gaza cement shipments after ban over Hamas theft

Israeli official warns that decision could still be reversed if there is another Hamas violation.

By REUTERS,
May 23, 2016 18:34
1 minute read.
Kerem Shalom Crossing

Kerem Shalom Crossing. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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Lorries laden with cement began making their way into Gaza on Monday after Israel resumed the shipment of cement after a 45-day ban.

In early April, Israel temporarily suspended the delivery of cement to Gaza’s private sector after it discovered that Hamas was siphoning the material, which is intended to rebuild destroyed houses.

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The first of some 90 truckloads of cement entered the Gaza Strip through an Israeli-controlled border crossing.

However, an Israeli official warned that their decision could still be reversed if there is another Hamas 'violation'.

Israel's Office of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) monitors the flow of cement into Gaza to ensure that Hamas has not used it to construct tunnels to attack Israel.

On April 1, COGAT posted on its Arabic Facebook page that it suspended the transfer of cement to Gaza because some deliveries had been diverted by Imad Elbaz, the deputy director-general for Hamas’s economics office

Hamas has denied Israeli charges that it siphons off cement imports to fortify attack tunnels.



"The occupation has today allowed the re-entering of cement like before to the Strip. It is expected that 2500 tons will enter, from 2000 to 2500 tons today,'' said Munir Al-Ghalban who manages the Kerem Shalom Crossing on the Gaza side.

Meanwhile, Nickolay Mladenov, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, welcomed the resumption of the shipments, saying in a statement that "all sides need to ensure that cement deliveries reach their intended beneficiaries and are used solely for civilian purposes."

Jpost.com Staff contributed to this report.

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