RAMALLAH, July 2 (JMCC) - Discussions have begun between Israel
and the Palestinian Authority
on the possible transfer of responsibility into the crossings in the Gaza Strip
. Maj.-Gen. Eitan Dangot, the coordinator of Israeli government activities in the Palestinian territories, met with Hussein al-Sheikh, the Palestinian Authority’s minister for civilian affairs on Wednesday.
The two men decided to establish a number of joint Israeli-PA teams to coordinate work on two issues – the renovation of the Kerem Shalom crossing and international construction projects in the Gaza Strip.
Washington and PA President Mahmoud Abbas
have been pressuring Israel for several years to transfer control over the Gaza crossings to the PA. This has been regarded by some as a means of enabling the PA to regain a small foothold in Hamas
-controlled Gaza. Until now, the Israeli military has opposed the move, citing security risks.
The model under which Israel would transfer control over the crossings would likely involve an international mechanism like the European Union observers, who were stationed at the Rafah
crossing from 2005 until 2007, when they were kicked out by Hamas. EUBAM Rafah (The European Union Border Assistance Mission at the Rafah Crossing Point) has since kept a smaller delegation (18 international members and 8 local staff, according to its Web site) on standby in Ashkelon
, awaiting a political decision to redeploy the observers at one of the Gaza crossings.
Under such a model, the PA would run the crossing with international oversight, to ensure that only legitimate supplies were transferred. It is not clear whether there would be any Israeli military presence.
Still, Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon said Israel in the next few weeks plans to increase the flow of goods into Gaza to a level close to what it was before Israel closed the crossings to all but humanitarian goods in 2007.Read
more at the Jerusalem Post