Israel is easing its land blockade on the Gaza Strip, allowing all goods to be delivered except for arms and construction materials that might be used to manufacture weapons. U.S. President Obama welcomed the decision and said he would now be willing to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The meeting is set for July 6. Canadian Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon and others also welcomed Israel’s move. The U.N. said that the new policy will help address the Palestinian Territories’ need for social services and security concerns but noted that “nothing short of the full lifting of Israel’s blockade on Gaza would allow the territory to be rebuilt.” Hamas, on the other hand, criticized Israel for not lifting the blockade completely.
Meanwhile, Israel is considering rail network expansions estimated to cost USD7 billion. It would be the most expensive transportation project in the country’s history, according to Yitzhak Suchman, director of planning of the Ministry of Transport.