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Jun-09-2010 01:19printcomments

Israel to Ease Blockade in Exchange for Weak Flotilla Inquiry

Israeli officials reportedly denied there was any direct link.

Israeli warship

(Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies) - Israel is poised to accept a British plan to ease its blockade of Gaza in exchange for international acceptance of a watered-down investigation into last week's deadly raid on a Turkish aid ship, The Daily Telegraph reported Wednesday. Britain is understood to have taken a leading role in the negotiations and last week circulated a confidential document proposing ways of easing the blockade, according to Western officials familiar with a draft version of the report quoted by the London-based daily. Facing growing international criticism over the humanitarian situation in Gaza, Israeli officials said that would agree, in principle, to permit the passage of substantially more aid through Israel's land crossings with the Hamas-controlled territory, according to the report. Israeli officials reportedly denied there was any direct link between their willingness to cooperate over the blockade and the apparent ebbing of Western support for a UN-led international inquiry into to raid, but a Western source close to international discussions with Israel said "A quid pro quo deal is in the offing."

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