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As MV Rachel Corrie draws nearer, Israel mulls easing Gaza blockade

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A senior Israeli official who requested anonymity said that Israel would continue inspect all sea cargo for weapons bound for Hamas, but "we also want to facilitate the transfer of civilian goods to the people of the Gaza Strip. We are currently exploring additional ways to achieve these goals.''

Global support strengthens domestic critics of blockade

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reiterated this week that the blockade is necessary to prevent Iran from establishing a Gaza port through which it can arm Hamas, while opposition leader Tzipi Livni – who was foreign minister when the blockade was imposed in 2007 – says it's meant to pressure Hamas into renouncing violence.

But the intensified foreign calls against the blockade in the wake of Israel's flotilla raid has strengthened domestic critics who had already been arguing for a rethink of Israel's three-year-old policy. Under the policy, only humanitarian food and medical supplies – less than what the UN recommends – are allowed into Gaza.

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