(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski/The Jerusalem Post))
The Security Cabinet Wednesday decided to loosen even further the blockade of the Gaza Strip, and allow more exports out of the region.
RELATED:Int'l groups say Israel not living up to Gaza promisesGaza strawberries and flowers head to Europe
Increasing exports from Gaza to improve the economic situation there has been a constant demand of numerous countries around the world over the last few months.
Cabinet Secretary Zvi Hauser issued a statement saying the decision was intended to increase economic activity in the Gaza Strip and "make things easier for the population in Gaza which is under a terrorist and oppressive Hamas regime."
The statement said that along with attempts to improve the economic
situation in Gaza, Israel continues to call on the international
community to continue its boycott of the Hamas government and abide by
the Quartet principles whereby there will be no engagement with Hamas
until the organization forswears terrorism, recognizes Israel and
accepts previous Israeli-Palestinian agreements.
The statement also called on the international community to take all
measures to prevent the arming of Hamas and other terrorist
organizations with missiles aimed at Israel's civilian population.
"A continuation of this armament is against international law, harms the
interest of the population that lives in Gaza and will harm Israel's
ability to continue with steps to improve the economic situation in the
Gaza Strip," the statement read.
Human rights group B'Tselem welcomed the security cabinet's decision. In a statement released Wednesday afternoon, the group expressed hope "that the change of policy stems from an understanding that Israel must stop using its control over the crossings with Gaza for collective punishment of its population."
However, B'Tselem noted that the "true test" of the government's decision is in its implementation.
"In the past, even while allowing imports and exports, Israel placed arbitrary restrictions that impaired trade. Israel must take all necessary steps, subject to security restrictions, to allow the free flow of goods," the statement said. Jpost.com staff contributed to this report