Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz met on Sunday evening with Palestinian Authority Interior Minister Nasser Yousef. Yousef reported that “Israel was not serious,” and not providing any answers to issues raised by the Palestinian side, especially on issues regarding pullout coordination.

Mofaz reiterated the Israeli threats to invade the Palestinian areas if the P.A does not “take action against Hamas”.

“The P.A must act against Hamas,” Mofaz said, “If it fails to do so, Israel will”.

A Palestinian security source reported that the negative positions Israel has taken and its lack of cooperation with the P.A, especially regarding details on withdrawal arrangements, hinder the achievement of the desired results of the meetings between the two sides. 

The source added that the “comprehensive security plan” prepared by the P.A regarding the Israeli withdrawal had been finalized.

Mofaz and Yousef are scheduled to meet again in the coming few days for further talks regarding disengagement.

During his Saturday meeting with the U.S. Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, Mofaz promised to look into the Palestinian request to receive ammunition and arms in order to strengthen the Palestinian security deployed in the Gaza Strip.

Rice said that she is “concerned that Hamas might control the Gaza Strip after the Israeli withdrawal,” adding that the US and Israel should find a way to strengthen Abbas by reforming and strengthening the Palestinian security forces. 

Rice also asked Israel to allow the entry of Egyptian security officers to the Gaza Strip in order to train the Palestinian security in Gaza. 

Yousef met with Rice on Sunday. “Yousef discussed the plan, prepared by the strategic planning team, with Rice,” a P.A security source said, “he also provided detailed information regarding uniting the security devices, and the continuous coordination with the US Security Coordinator for Middle East, General William Ward, and his team.”  

Yousef asked Rice to provide the P.A with every possible support in order to “foil the operations which violate the truce,” and to maintain calm in the area. 


Yousef said that another meeting is scheduled to take place on Monday night between Yousef and Mofaz, for further talk concerning disengagement and security cooperation.

Israel had cancelled its meetings with the P.A two weeks ago following the Netanya suicide bombing carried out by a group affiliated with the Islamic Jihad.  

Another meeting is planned to take place soon between Mofaz and Mohammad Dahlan, Palestinian Civil Affairs Minister.

The Israeli online daily Haaretz reported that Sharon’s advisor, Dov Weissglass, is scheduled to depart to the United States next week to hold talks with senior US officials regarding the Gaza withdrawal, a senior Palestinian official is expected to travel to the US at the same time.

Sources in the States reported on Sunday that Rice will not return to the region again before disengagement, while White House envoys, Elliot Abrams and David Walsh are expected to return to the area soon.