GAZA CITY (AFP) -- Israel is to allow limited quantities of building materials for use by the private sector into the blockaded Gaza Strip starting from Sunday, a Palestinian official said.
After "efforts exerted by the Palestinian Authority, Israel has agreed for the first time in six years for building materials such as cement, iron and gravel to be brought into Gaza from Sunday" through the Kerem Shalom goods crossing, said Raed Fattouh, PA official in charge of Gaza supplies.
An Israeli official who asked not to be named confirmed the move, telling AFP it was a bid to "strengthen the economy and support (President Mahmoud) Abbas."
The quantities allowed in per day would be 1,600 tons of gravel, 800 tons of cement and 400 tons of iron, Fattouh said.
Israel had also began constructing a water line that would double the amount of water to the Gaza from five million to 10 million cubic meters a year, the Israeli official noted.
A Hamas government official told AFP allowing building materials into Gaza was a positive development, but insufficient.
"It's a positive step, but Gaza needs 6,000 tons of gravel, 4,000 of cement and 1,500 of iron per day," deputy economy minister Hatem Oweida said. more