Israeli officials have permitted a shipment of 1,000 tons of cement into Gaza as part of initial efforts to rebuild the territory following last summer’s war there.
“Today, 1,000 tons of cement paid for by Qatar entered the Gaza Strip for a project included in the scope of the reconstruction mechanism,” a statement from the Israeli Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) said.
“There are no fixed quantities [going in] on a daily basis. The quantities [delivered] are at the request of the Palestinian Authority in accordance with the needs of suppliers who are purchasing in Gaza,” the statement added.
The shipment of cement was paid for by Qatar, which announced last week that it would pay to rebuild 1,000 homes in Gaza as part of a $1 billion pledge.
Israel allowed the shipment despite the fact that the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas has in the past used cement and other building materials to construct tunnels underneath the border with Israel in order to launch attacks.
Efforts to rebuild Gaza have been slow following last summer’s war there, with some blaming the ongoing standoff between Palestinian rival factions—Hamas and the Fatah-controlled Palestinian Authority—for hampering reconstruction. Many Arab countries, preoccupied with other domestic and regional concerns, have been slow to help Gaza.
Last week, Israeli authorities allowed a limited amount of produce to be exported by Gaza to Israel for the first time in nearly a decade. Approximately 27 tons of tomatoes and five tons of eggplants were cleared to enter Israel.