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Israel’s Foreign Minister Eli Cohen said Dec. 31 that a Cyprus-proposed sea corridor for ships bringing in humanitarian aid to Gaza can proceed. According to a report in Reuters, the agreement would require any ships to be inspected at the Cypriot port of Larnaca, and to land directly in Gaza. If this proceeds, it would be the first lifting of Israel’s naval blockade since it was imposed on Gaza in 2007.

“As of now there is a maritime blockade, and if such an (aid) ship comes from Larnaca, it will be with our approval,” Cohen said. “It will of course be a secured corridor, as we have no intention of endangering a British or French ship coming in coordination with us,” Cohen told Tel Aviv radio station 103 FM on Dec. 31, and said “it can start immediately.” Cohen said that Britain, France, Greece and the Netherlands are among the countries that have shallow-bottomed vessels capable of landing in Gaza, which does not have a deep-water port able to receive ships with deeper draws.

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