Israel said Sunday, April 1, it was allowing some 500 Palestinian businessmen into the Jewish state and between the West Bank and Gaza Strip as part of efforts to ease crushing economic sanctions against the Palestinians.
Yarden Vatikay, spokesman for the coordinator of Israeli activities in the Palestinian territories, said a total of 1,000 businessmen and traders were now allowed into Israel.
"Defense Minister Binyamin Ben Eliezer hopes in this way to improve conditions for the Palestinians," he told AFP.
A punishing closure on the West Bank and Gaza Strip imposed since the outbreak of the Palestinian revolt more than six months ago has prevented more than 100,000 Palestinians from working in Israel or traveling between the territories.
"Mr. Ben Eliezer has also asked the army to examine where it is possible to lift the blockade," Vatikay added. — (AFP, Jerusalem)
© Agence France Presse 2001
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