Ma'an News Agency
September 20, 2010 - 12:00am

Israel will permit the entry of private vehicles into Gaza on Monday for the first time since 2007, a Palestinian crossing official said.

Raed Fattouh said 20 cars will enter the Strip, as well as oil, spare parts and rubber tires. Israel has slowly allowed the entry of car parts and oil for the first time in four years over the past week.

The cars will enter the Gaza Strip on four trucks through the Kerem Shalom crossing in southern Gaza, Fattouh said. An earlier report suggested that the transfer would be made at the pedestrian Erez crossing in northern Gaza. Four truckloads of spare parts, oil and tires will also enter through the southern terminal.

The Palestinian Authority announced on 13 September that the Transportation Ministry had completed all preparations for the import of the cars. Israel will be collecting taxes on the new vehicles and transfer the money to the PA.

Three days after the announcement, Fattouh said the decision to allow cars into Gaza had been overturned by Israel, without providing explanation. The transfer was rescheduled but PA officials have yet to disclose the number of cars set for import into the Strip.

The apparent ease in Israel's blockade of the coastal enclave comes after widespread international pressure to end its four-year policy following the killing of nine Turkish nationals on board a Gaza-bound aid boat by Israeli commandos in international waters.

Following a cabinet meeting in June, Israel's cabinet decided to allow previously-barred items into Gaza, including coriander, and published a list of "dual use" goods still prohibited for import.

Water Authority to receive cement for project

The Kerem Shalom crossing, Fattouh said, would be open for the transfer of other goods into Gaza, including 14 trucks loaded with cement and iron for Water Authority-approved projects. An additional 220 truckloads of goods are expected to enter through the southern terminal, he added.

Limited quantities of domestic-use gas and industrial diesel will be allowed into Gaza through the same crossing, the official said.

Meanwhile, Israel further informed Palestinian crossings officials that the Karni crossing in northern Gaza would be opened for the transfer of 119 truckloads of wheat and animal, Fattouh added.


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