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Israeli body OKs more 'easing' of Gaza restrictions

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • The move helps "relieve population" under Hamas "oppression"
  • More trucks are entering Gaza via the Kerem Shalom crossing

Jerusalem (CNN) -- Israel's Security Cabinet approved "further easing" of economic "restrictions" in Gaza, on Wednesday, the prime minister's office said.

The move will "enable the expansion of the export and expand the economic activity in Gaza, in order to relieve the population which is under the oppression of the Hamas regime."

Israel has long had a strict economic blockade of the Palestinian territory to stop what it says is the transit of weaponry to be used by militants attacking the state.

Israel has been roundly criticized for the effects of the policy, and that ire came to a head earlier in the year when Israeli commandos battled with people aboard a Gaza-bound ship, a skirmish that left nine of the people on the vessel dead.

On Wednesday, ministers were briefed on the economic growth in Gaza and that included a discussion of an International Monetary Fund report.

That document shows a 16 percent expansion of Gaza's economy and a decrease in unemployment in the first half of the year, the prime minister's office said. And that growth is expected to continue.

There has been an increase of the number of trucks entering Gaza daily through Kerem Shalom crossing. The ministers were also informed that there are 78 international projects that have been approved.