Israel has begun allowing parcels to be sent to Gaza again, officials said Monday, months after a ban due to their use in smuggling weapons by the terrorist organization Hamas.
“It was decided yesterday to renew the postal services for packages into the Gaza Strip,” said a statement from COGAT, the Israeli Defense Ministry unit that implements Israeli government policies in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
It said the ban was a result of multiple attempts by Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, to “smuggle materials for terror purposes, including knives, drones (and) spy equipment.”
The statement did not say when the ban came into force but Palestinians at the border claimed it had been in place for five months.
COGAT said that letters and documents had not been affected by the ban.
Israel and Palestinian terrorist groups in Gaza led by Hamas have fought three wars since 2008, and the strip has been under an Israeli blockade for nearly a decade, following Hamas’ violent takeover of the Strip in a coup in 2007 and its subsequent use of the enclave as a launchpad for attacks on Israel.
Israeli authorities maintain that the blockade is necessary to prevent Hamas from obtaining weapons or the materials to make them, while arguing that the economic hardship that comes as a result is the responsibility of the terror group for its refusal to renounce violence and terrorism against Israel.