Hamas, PA welcome EU calls on Israel to end Gaza blockade
The Gaza Strip ruling Islamic Hamas movement on Tuesday welcomed the European Union's call on Israel to end the Israeli blockade which has been imposed on the Gaza Strip for three years, dpa reported.
"The European Union's call is a serious step forward to end the siege and reopen the closed crossings," the Islamic group said in a press statement e-mailed to reporters.
Hamas militants had seized control of the impoverished enclave by force in June 2007, and routed secular president Mahmoud Abbas security forces. Israel then imposed a tight blockade to squeeze Hamas and weaken it.
On Monday, the EU Foreign Ministers, who met in Luxembourg, called on Israel to end the blockade. The EU expressed readiness to inspect the border crossings, mainly the one between Gaza Strip and Egypt.
Hamas called in its statement for a permanent opening of the commercial crossings and ensure the safety of people crossing back and forth from the blockaded territory.
World pressure on Israel to end Gaza blockade had increased since May 31 Israeli naval forces attack on the Gaza aid Freedom Flotilla, with nine Turkish campaigners killed on one of the ships.
Meanwhile, the Palestinian Authority had also welcomed on Tuesday the EU call on Israel to end the blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip, according to an official PA statement.
"The European call to end the blockade is encouraging, but the Palestinians don't only need statements, they need deeds and measures on the ground," said the PA statement.