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Gaza cleric calls violation of Israel truce sinful

Associated Press Modified: November 25, 2012 at 7:30 am •  Published: November 25, 2012

Israel has eased its full-fledged blockade in recent years, and some goods enter Gaza through smuggling tunnels under the border with Egypt. But Israel has continued to impose strict restrictions on exports and the import of construction materials, which has severely hampered the development of Gaza's battered economy.

Israel is expected to link a significant easing of the blockade to Hamas's willingness to stop smuggling weapons into Gaza and producing them there. A top Hamas official said Saturday that the group wouldn't stop arming itself, suggesting that talks on a new border deal would not go smoothly.

Nunu also told reporters that the offensive inflicted more than $1.2 billion in damage on the Gaza economy, including damage to buildings, infrastructure, agriculture and trade. Israel continues to restrict the inflow of building materials, but Nunu said that talks on lifting those limitations are to begin in meetings scheduled to start in Cairo on Monday.

The government in Gaza has no estimate yet on how long the reconstruction will take. Gaza only recently concluded rebuilding most of the buildings and infrastructure damaged during Israel's 2009 war in the territory.