Gaza/Israel: Israel has allowed a limited quantity of cement and other building materials into the Gaza Strip for the first time since 2007. Nazmi Muhanna, an official in the Palestinian Authority in charge of border checkpoints, said that efforts made by President Mahmoud Abbas to convince Israel to allow entry of construction material into Gaza for private sector usage had succeeded. Israel has promised to increase the quantity gradually.
"I welcome the decision which reflects our ongoing discussions with the Israelis," commented Quartet representative Tony Blair in a statement. "This is an important step in building a more positive environment for the diplomatic negotiations and in preparing the ground for the more comprehensive and transformative economic initiative, which we have been working on for the past few months."