Israeli officials said on Wednesday that Israel has declared its frontier with the Gaza Strip, thus formally setting part of the boundary, for the first time, with the future Palestinian state.
Israeli interior minister, Ophir Pines-Paz singed a measure which was described as a first step to demilitarize the crossings and eventually turn them into border crossings.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Pines turned four crossing points between the Gaza Strip and Israel into official border crossingsÃ¢â‚¬Â, Sabine Haddad, spokeswoman for the Interior Ministry’s Population Registry said.
Haddad added that Israelis and foreign nationals will need a passport to move between Israel and the Gaza Strip; they will have to fill border entry forms instead of military documents which were used before the Israeli pullout.
Also, Haddad added that the few Palestinians will be allowed to enter Israel for work or medical purposes, and will need security clearance.Ã‚Â
Palestinian cabinet minister, and chief negotiator, Dr. Saeb Erekat, said that the Israeli procedures cannot be considered as legally setting international borders because Gaza is still not free of occupation.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I believe that international borders will be agreed when we finalize the final status negotiations with IsraelÃ¢â‚¬Â, Erekat said, Ã¢â‚¬Å“Israel is still controlling the GazaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s sea-lanes and air spaceÃ¢â‚¬Â.
Israel recently closed the border crossings with Egypt for the next six months, talks between Israel, Egypt and the Palestinian Authority continue for a possible presence of international observers to monitor the crossings; Israel claims that its demand for international presence at the borders was made because it wants to make sure no arms are smuggled into Gaza.