2nd LD-Writethru: U.S. hails Israel's new policy toward Gaza
Sunday, June 20, 2021 1:11 PM

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WASHINGTON, Jun. 20, 2010 (Xinhua News Agency) -- The United States welcomes Israel 's "new policy" towards the Gaza Strip, hoping it should significantly improve conditions for Palestinians and preventing the entry of weapons, said the White House on Sunday.

"The United States welcomes the new policy towards Gaza announced by the Government of Israel, which responds to the calls of many in the international community," said White House spokesman Robert Gibbs in a statement.

The Israeli government said earlier in the day that it would allow all types of goods, including construction materials, into the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, except for weapons and materials that could be used to make them.

"Once implemented, we believe these arrangements should significantly improve conditions for Palestinians in Gaza, while preventing the entry of weapons," Gibbs said.

According to the spokesman, the Obama administration would work with Israel, the Palestinian National Authority (PNA), and international partners to ensure the measures could be implemented "as quickly and effectively as possible."

Gibbs announced that President Obama will meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the White House on July 6 for discussing the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, including the new policy on Gaza.

The Obama-Netanyahu meeting, which was scheduled on June 1, was canceled after Israel's deadly raid on a flotilla bound for the Gaza Strip on May 31, when Israeli navy commandos boarded the pro- Palestinian international aid flotilla and clashed with activists aboard.

The violence, which left nine dead and dozens wounded, has drawn fierce international criticism on Israel of using excessive force and making the Gaza humanitarian crisis worsening.

The Israeli government, however, insists that the raid was aimed at preventing suspected weapon-smuggling into terrorists' hands, and that its soldiers acted just in self-defense when they were attacked on board by the activists.

"We strongly re-affirm Israel's right to self-defense, and our commitment to work with Israel and our international partners to prevent the illicit trafficking of arms and ammunition into Gaza," said Gibbs, referring to Israel's concerns over weapon-smuggling to Hamas and other Palestinian militants.

"We urge all those wishing to deliver goods to do so through established channels so that their cargo can be inspected and transferred via land crossings into Gaza. There is no need for unnecessary confrontations, and we call on all parties to act responsibly in meeting the needs of the people of Gaza," said the spokesman.



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