Palestinians carry bags of food aid, distributed by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), in the West Bank village of Sanour near Jenin, on Thursday. Image Credit: AP

Dubai: Hamas yesterday rejected what it called ‘Israel's public relations campaign' after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's cabinet moved to ease the Gaza blockade.

"Hamas demands the full reopening of Gaza's borders with Egypt and lifting of the naval blockade," Mohammad Shihab, member of Legislative Council and leader of Hamas, told Gulf News on the phone from the impoverished Strip.

He said Israel and its western allies have finally realised that the blockade has not weakened the elected government in the Strip, but in turn strengthened it in achieving self-sufficiency in several fronts.

He said Gazans, for instance, are involved in fish farming as fishermen are barred from practising their profession for almost four years as a result of the sea blockade.

No need for shoelaces

Shihab, who is a pharmacist by profession and a father of nine children, one of whom was killed by Israeli troops two years ago, told Gulf News that Gazans do not need to import mayonnaise, shoelaces and towels as the Israeli list of materials that will be allowed into Gaza suggested.

"We are demanding the full reopening of sea and land borders with the rest of the world," he said.

Israel yesterday approved a plan to ease its blockade of Gaza following weeks of international pressure, but provided few details on what new goods would be allowed in.

Shihab said Israel businesses were financially hurt as a result of the blockade and the recent decision was made to reduce its losses, pledging that Hamas will not continue to bring in needed goods through tunnels, he added.

Shihab said this does not mean that Palestinians in Gaza are not hurt or affected by the Israeli blockade nor it means that they don't like to see it lifted even partially, but Palestinians are not willing to give Israel an opportunity to continue with its inhumane policies.

New list approved

A new Israeli-approved product list includes all food items, toys, stationery, kitchen utensils, mattresses and towels.

Israel is to allow desperately-needed construction material for civilian projects, provided those projects are carried out under international supervision. All food items would be freely let in to Gaza, effective immediately.

Israel has previously allowed a narrow and constantly changing list of authorised food items that has grown incrementally in recent months.

The naval blockade on Gaza would remain in force.

There was no mention of lifting or easing bans on exports or the import of raw materials, crucial to galvanising the territory's battered economy. The announcement did not specify how procedures for the import of commercial goods would change or list any specific products, saying only that cabinet ministers would decide in the coming days how to implement the revised policy.