NUSSEIRAT, Gaza Strip – Students in this refugee camp study in stifling hot metal shipping containers, and there’s no space in the U.N. classrooms for thousands of incoming first-graders because Israel’s blockade of Gaza has kept out supplies for building schools.

At Gaza’s largest hospital, the CT scanner is used only for the most urgent cases because there are no spare parts to fix its failing cooling system.

Since the violent 2007 takeover of Gaza by Hamas – an Islamic militant group responsible for firing thousands of rockets at Israeli border communities – Israel has let in only limited humanitarian supplies, including basic food and medicine.

Construction materials, which Israel maintains Hamas could use to make weapons and build bunkers, were barred; the vast majority of Gaza’s 1.5 million people couldn’t travel, and a trade ban has wiped out tens of thousands of manufacturing jobs.

Now that Israel is vowing, under international pressure, to ease the restrictions, aid officials say urgent action is needed. Israel must move “within days, not months,” Gaza’s top U.N. aid official, John Ging, said Monday.

During the three-year blockade, the U.N. has had to put nearly $110 million worth of construction projects on hold, including six schools, five clinics and 2,300 apartments for Gaza’s poorest and those made homeless by past Israeli military operations.

Signaling a change of course, Israel’s Cabinet said Sunday it would allow all goods into Gaza, except for items deemed to have a military use. Israel insists on maintaining its sea blockade and inspecting overland cargo to keep weapons and missiles out of Gaza militants’ hands.

Israel remained vague Monday about how and when it expected to deliver more goods to Gaza. Officials outlined procedures that suggested a slow pace, despite a White House call for quick changes in the blockade policy.

In coming days, Israel will review building projects with representatives of international organizations, including the U.N., said Maj. Guy Inbar, a Defense Ministry official. If there are no security concerns, talks will begin on how much material is needed, he said.

Such a procedure was in place during the blockade, but only one U.N. building project was ever approved, and then only after the intervention by U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

Now the pace is expected to pick up, Inbar said.

But many questions remain unanswered, including whether Israel will allow full trade, seen as key to reviving industry and creating jobs.