Nothing short of the full lifting of Israel’s blockade on Gaza would allow the territory to be rebuilt, the U.N. agency responsible for Palestinian refugees said yesterday, a day after Israel said it would ease its siege.

Israel, which sealed off the coastal territory to prevent its Hamas foes from arming, is under international pressure to lift the blockade after nine people were killed in an assault on an aid flotilla on May 31.

Under the blockade’s previous rules, any item that was not explicitly permitted was banned. Israel says it will now allow items to enter Gaza unless they are on a banned list.


However, critics say the new rules could still make it difficult to import building materials to rehabilitate the territory, damaged by war in 2008-09.

Donors at a conference in Egypt pledged $2.8 billion to rebuild Gaza after the war, but the blockade has hampered the inflow of supplies.

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