Lieberman: EU Ministers Should Visit Gaza

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JERUSALEM, Israel - Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman recommended that EU ministers visit the Gaza Strip, Israel's channel 2 reported on Thursday.

During a meeting with Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini in Rome, Lieberman suggested he lead a delegation of foreign ministers from France, Germany, Britain, and Norway, among others, on an information-gathering tour to see how Gazans are faring.

Lieberman further suggested the tour include a visit to the port at Ashdod to see how goods arriving by sea are transferred for land transport to Gaza.

He also suggested the ministers see the city of Sderot near the border with Gaza, which has been targeted by thousands of rockets and mortar shells fired from the Strip.

Lieberman's recommendation represents a turnaround of the government's policy over the past year, which was geared toward isolating Hamas, the Palestinian faction ruling the Gaza Strip.

The government did not want to provide the Islamist group with public relations opportunities to strengthen its legitimacy abroad.

In a related matter, Israel plans to increase the number of trunks transporting goods to Gaza from 125 to around 380 per day, bringing it back to pre-blockade levels. 

Israel imposed the economic blockade following a bloody military coup in June 2007 that left Hamas in control.


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