The Bush administration announced Thursday that
James Wolfensohn, the retiring president of the World Bank, will become
a special coordinator to help in the economic and political aspects of
the Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip to start in less than 100
days.

U.S. Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice said that part of
Wolfensohn’s task is to support reviving the Palestinian economy that
deteriorated in the past four years.

In addition, Wolfensohn will be responsible for the fate of the evacuated residential areas.

Rice declared Appointing Wolfensohn on behalf of the Quartet Committee
for peace in the Middle East, including, U.S.A, Russia, UN and the
EU.  Wolfensohn will report to the Quartet.

‘I would expect to be over there in next couple weeks to do preliminary
work and to listen,’ Wolfensohn said in an interview after his
appointment. ‘My first job is to listen to the Israelis and the
Palestinians and try to assess the situation and see what the gaps are
and how we can help.’

Appointing Wolfensohn came after growing concerns that there has been a
lack of Israeli-Palestinian coordination on the withdrawal. 
Palestinian officials complained from the lack of coordination from the
Israeli side. 

Minister Sa’eb Ereikat was quoted as saying, ‘We do not what is going
to happen after the disengagement.’  Ereikat expressed concerns
that the PA does not know what is going to happen on the borders with
Egypt, and the crossings to the West Bank, and many other issues.

‘The responsibility for peace ultimately rests with the two parties,
and Mr. Wolfensohn can only help them achieve what they are willing to
achieve together,’ Rice said at the State Department.

Wolfensohn, is a 72-year-old Jewish American, originally came from
Australia.  He headed the World Bank for ten years and is very
much acquainted with the situation Israel and Palestine.

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