Israel withholds cement to Gaza Strip

GAZA, Nov. 4 – Israeli companies stopped providing cement to the Gaza Strip upon orders by the Israeli military, a Palestinian importer said on Tuesday. “The Israeli company ceased providing Gaza with the cement since the end of the last week,” said Nabil al-Zaeem, director of the Commercial Services Company.

“The Israeli security department ordered the withholding of the concrete.”

Al-Zaeem added that the amount of cement, that Israel started to send into Gaza in June, was “very reduced and only meets 10 percent of the virtual needs.”

The cement was among new things that Israel started to allow into Gaza after Egypt brokered a ceasefire between Israel and Islamic Hamas movement that controls Gaza Strip in June 2007.

Only 200,000 tons of the cement have entered into Gaza since the ceasefire took effect “and the whole amount, if it is sold in natural conditions, it would run out in 10 days,” according to al-Zaeem.

Israel closed the crossing points in June last year when Hamas routed security forces of president Mahmoud Abbas and gained full control of the territory. Prior to the ceasefire, Israel allowed little more than essential humanitarian needs.

During the ceasefire, Israel excluded shoes and cloths from entering Gaza, saying they were used in producing military uniforms.

Hamas accuses Israel of not committing to the ceasefire despite the halting of the Palestinian attacks against the Jewish state. 

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