JERUSALEM — Israel’s top ministers decided to ease the blockade of the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip after facing international criticism for a raid against an aid flotilla trying to breach the embargo that left nine Turks dead.

The decision will change the system in which goods enter Gaza and expand the import of “materials for civilian projects under international supervision,” the prime minister’s office said in an e-mailed statement today. Security procedures to prevent arms smuggling will remain in place, it said.

Ismail al-Ashqar, a senior Hamas official, called the move “meaningless and nonsense” and demanded a complete lifting of the siege. Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat said the Israeli decision was “insufficient.”

The U.S., United Nations and European Union said after the May 31 commando raid that the situation in Gaza was unsustainable.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.