Israel allows limited resumption of commercial exports from Gaza, whose governors Hamas warn against ongoing siege on Palestinian enclave, saying Israel is blackmailing resistance on easing the blockade.

A worker prepares crates of freshly-picked bell peppers in a warehouse in the Palestinian city of Rafah in southern Gaza, on June 21, 2021, to be exported the following day through the Karm Abu Salem crossing.
A worker prepares crates of freshly-picked bell peppers in a warehouse in the Palestinian city of Rafah in southern Gaza, on June 21, 2021, to be exported the following day through the Karm Abu Salem crossing. (AFP)

Israel has eased some restrictions on commercial exports from besieged Gaza in what it called a "conditional" measure, one month after a ceasefire halted 11 days of war with the Hamas resistance group which said lifting of some curbs was not enough and Tel Aviv was "blackmailing the resistance."

"Following a security evaluation, a decision has been made for the first time since the end of (the fighting) to enable … (the) limited export of agricultural produce from the Gaza Strip,” COGAT, a branch of Israel's Defence Ministry, said.

COGAT said the measure was approved by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s government and was "conditional upon the preservation of security stability".

The Israeli restrictions were intensified during the May fighting, effectively halting all exports.

With the Egyptian-mediated ceasefire largely holding, Israel said some exports were allowed out through its territory as of Monday morning.

Israel keeps tight controls on Gaza crossings, with support from neighbouring Egypt. 

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Israel keeping out aid from Qatar?

However, Hamas leader in Gaza, Yahya al Sinwar, said on Monday that Israel's years-long blockade on the Palestinian territory was not helping in "humanitarian crisis in Gaza".

"Israel is still continuing its policies against our people and prisoners," Sinwar said.

"Israel is blackmailing the resistance on easing (the blockade) on Gaza."

Earlier on Monday, UN Middle East envoy Tor Wennesland arrived in Gaza through the Israeli Erez terminal as part of efforts to solidify a ceasefire deal between Gaza and Israel and ease the Gaza siege.

Sinwar also accused Israel of keeping out aid from Qatar, which in recent years has bankrolled Gaza reconstruction projects worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

"It seems the occupation (Israel) didn't understand our message, and that we maybe need to carry out popular resistance to put pressure on the occupation," Sinwar said.

Gaza officials said the easing of Israeli restrictions would last two to three days and would apply to agricultural goods and some textiles.

Glut of produce in Gaza

An AFP news agency reporter on Monday saw trucks loaded with fabric go through the Kerem Shalom crossing while Palestinians in the Gaza reported that some mail also had been allowed in.

Extra restrictions since violence last month has meant Gaza's farmers have been unable to export goods as usual, creating a glut of produce such as tomatoes and strawberries, causing prices to tumble.

Saleh al Zaq, head of the civil affairs committee that controls the borders, said Israel had informed him that mail would be allowed in and out of the enclave, but COGAT did not confirm the announcement.

The six-week freeze on mail had impacted thousands of Palestinians, including many who have been waiting for their passports to be issued in Ramallah, seat of the Palestinian Authority in the occupied West Bank.

Israel loosened restrictions amid a fragile ceasefire that went into effect May 21, ending the bloodiest war between Israel and Gaza since 2014.

Israeli strikes killed 260 Palestinians, according to Gaza authorities.

In Israel, 13 people were killed, including a soldier, by rockets fired from Gaza, the police and army said.

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Source: TRTWorld and agencies