Egyptian presidential spokesman Suleiman Awad said on Monday that Israel was dragging its feet in handing over three West Bank cities to Palestinian security control, as agreed in a Palestinian-Israeli truce declared in Sharm Al-Sheikh summit on February.

Awad also called Israeli demands for dismantling Palestinian armed factions as ‘not realistic and not practical’.

‘Why does [Israel] call on Abbas to be swept into confrontation with the Palestinian factions, which have shown a great degree of wisdom … by adhering to the truce and cooperating with the Palestinian National Authority?’ Awad said.

Awad, who addressed reporters after a summit meeting between Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Jordan’s King Abdullah in Sharm el-Sheikh, accused Israel with dawdling in the handover of the five Palestinian cities to the Palestinian side.

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas agreed, in their February summit in Sharm Al-Sheikh, on a series of moves to restore calm and prepare ground for reviving the diplomatic process, including the handover of Five West bank city to the Palestinian Authority.

Israel handed over the West Bank cities of Tul Karm and Jericho in March, but has since frozen the process over a disagreement on solving the issue of “wanted” Palestinians.

Israel has demanded, and claimed that the PA signed to, the immediate disarming of “Wanted” individuals in the two cities. The PA has since taken gradual steps to disarm and absorb “wanted” Palestinians in the PA security forces.