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Palestinian Authority to take control of Gaza crossings on Sunday

Israel has, for the last eight years, severely restricted all imports and exports, including basic supplies such as concrete
Trucks enter Gaza from Israel through the Kerem Shalom crossing on 28 August (AFP)

The Palestinian Authority (PA) is set to take control of the Erez and Kerem Shalom crossings in Gaza on Sunday, Deputy Prime Minister Muhammad Mustafa said.

Mustafa, also head of a reconstruction committee for Gaza, told Ma'an News Agency on Friday that the PA will take responsibility for building materials entering Gaza and the movement of Palestinians between the coastal enclave and the West Bank.

Representatives in the health, agriculture, housing and civil affairs ministries will be in charge of monitoring materials for their respective sectors.

The news came a day after the new Palestinian unity government held its first meeting in Gaza to plan the rebuilding of the Strip after the massive destruction that was caused during the most recent 50-day war with Israel.

Earlier, Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah and other Palestinian ministers from the West Bank entered Gaza through the Erez crossing after receiving permission from the Israeli government.

According to the terms of an agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, all materials entering the Gaza Strip are checked to ensure weapons are not let through.

The first step must be for Israel to provide the promised facilitation of construction materials, said Mustafa, adding that the process of rebuilding the Gaza Strip depends on the amount of international donor funds.

Israel has, for the last eight years, severely restricted all imports and exports, including basic supplies such as concrete.

Prime Minister Hamadallah said his team will present a comprehensive plan to donor states at a conference in Cairo on Sunday, which will be the launch of a new fund-raising and reconstruction process, reported Haaretz.

Gazans have been almost completely restricted from entering Israel since the beginning of the siege in 2006, but before that could apply for permits for work or tourism similar to West Bank Palestinians.

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