The Palestinian Minister of civil affairs, Mohammad
Dahlan and the Israeli defense Minister Shaul Mofaz agreed Thursday
night to form ‘coordination mechanisms’ in preparation to Israel’s
withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, in mid August.

They also agreed to have series of meetings until the implementation of
the pullout while lower level committees will coordinate pullout

While Mofaz see coordination only as a way to ensure that pullout will
not be done ‘under fire’, the Palestinians, including Hamas, have
repeatedly said there will be no attacks when the pullout takes
place.  Palestinian factions declared calm until the end of 2005,
and they are still committed to it.

The Palestinian perspective of the coordination is focused on future
issues, including, crossings points with West Bank and with Egypt,
water, the airport, settlers houses.

Palestinians have earlier complained of lack of coordination.  In
a unilateral pullout, Israel is not bound to an agreement that would
prevent it from reoccupying the Gaza Strip for any reason Israel thinks
it is appropriate.

Both sides have an interest in security cooperation, but this was not a condition for the pullout, said the defense minister.

On the other hand, Israeli official sources reportedly said,
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is expected to meet the Israeli
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon prior to Abbas’ visit to the United States
scheduled between 15 – 25 of May.