Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu..
(photo credit: AP)
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu justified on Monday the cabinet’s decision to
lift the civilian blockade of the Gaza Strip, arguing that the move would help
confront Hamas – and Iran – more effectively.
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“The cabinet decision
removes the civilian blockade on Gaza while tightening the security blockade,”
Netanyahu told the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, explaining Monday’s
final approval of a relaxation of the blockade. “The decision was made in
accordance with the United States, with Quartet representative Tony Blair and
with other heads of state with whom I have spoken in recent days. This is the
best decision for Israel because it pulls Hamas’s main propaganda claim out from
under it, and allows us and our friends in the world to unite around our real
The prime minister accused Iran of trying to surround
Israel through Hizbullah and Hamas, and asserted Israel’s right to
from arming them.
“The ayatollahs’ regime in Iran stands behind the
Iranian boats. Hizbullah stands behind the Lebanese flotilla, even
are trying to hide it. One must understand that these are attempts by
Hizbullah to break the naval and security blockade of Hamas – and that
yesterday’s cabinet decision was so important.”
Netanyahu said that the
blockade of civilian materials had long since stopped being effective,
it instead served as a propaganda tool to attack Israel “for creating a
He added that almost a year ago, in July 2009, he
had suggested examining the possibility of easing up on the civilian
as to strengthen the naval blockade.Greater variety of goods enters Gaza
In practice Monday, a greater
variety of goods entered Gaza, but not a larger quantity.
the spokesman for the coordinator of government activities in the
the capacity of the Kerem Shalom Crossing has been expanded to allow for
truckloads a day to enter Gaza. That number had been about 100
truckloads a day,
but on Monday only about 90 truckloads entered Gaza.
under way among the IDF, the Palestinians and the United Nations as to
way to increase the quantity of goods into Gaza.
One option is expanding
the capacity of the Karni Crossing, which was designed to handle the
volume of goods out of all three Israeli crossings.
Until Hamas took over
Gaza, Karni was the main crossing for goods. At present, it is
at a very limited capacity for wheat and animal feed.
leader Tzipi Livni interjected at Monday’s committee meeting that it was
Netanyahu – and not the blockade – that had led to the delegitimization
“Israel is perceived as weak, and [Turkish Prime Minister Recep
Tayyip] Erdogan has noticed that. To say that the delegitimization is
our presence here is like saying that government decisions have no
significance,” complained Livni. “It testifies to diplomatic blindness.
throwing up our hands and running the country from crisis to crisis
Also on Monday, Netanyahu responded to a question from
MK Danny Danon (Likud) regarding the controversial Supreme Court
Route 443. Netanyahu told MKs that his security personnel had forbidden
drive on the road, a section of which was recently opened to Palestinian
IDF operations chief Itzik Turgeman, who was also at the
briefing, told MKs that “since opening 443 to Palestinian vehicles,
there is an
average of 20 vehicles per day crossing the checkpoint, but there is no
in the number of Israeli cars traveling on the road by day or by
night.”Tovah Lazaroff and Jerusalem Post
staff contributed to this