Condoleezza Rice, U.S Secretary of State said on Monday that Palestinian-Israeli agreement on Gaza Crossings is “in sight”. Rice delayed her departure on Monday, apparently hoping to achieve a deal between the two sides.
Israeli online daily Ynetnews reported that the Palestinian National Authority (P.A) and the United States have reached an agreement on all issues regarding Gaza, including its border crossings.
Mohammad Dahlan, Palestinian Minister of Civil Affairs reported that the situation at the crossings, especially Karni Crossing, “is worse that before the Israeli withdrawal”.
A prominent Palestinian source reported that the deal will include agreement on a safe passage between Gaza and the West Bank, in addition to easing restrictions on the Palestinians, which includes removing at least 125 checkpoints in the West Bank.
Yet, Israel still demands to have presence, and to install video cameras for surveillance at the Rafah Crossing, the P.A did not agree to this demand.
The Ynetnews reported that Israel accepted a proposal submitted by Rice to have Israel, Palestinian and European representatives monitoring the crossing from a join operation room.
“An agreement on the Rafah Crossing is on sight”, Rice said, “It will allow the Palestinians to move freely from and to Gaza”.
The statements of Rice came during a press conference which was conducted after she held separate talks with Israeli and Palestinian leaders.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said that he discussed with Rice the Palestinian demand for the operation of Gaza Sea and Air ports.
“We discussed the ways to realize the Palestinian dream to establish an independent state”, Abbas said, “A state which would coexist with Israel in peace”.
Also, Abbas told Rice that Israel is still expanding its settlements in the West Bank, which undermines the peace process. Abbas also confirmed to Rice that the P.A will be the only armed central authority.
Israeli Premier Shimon Peres met earlier in Jerusalem, earlier on Monday, with E.U Foreign Policy Chief Javier Solana. The two leader expressed concern over the delay of the opening of the Rafah Border Crossing, and the passage between Gaza and the West Bank.
Also, and Israeli source reported that the P.A is demanding to have presence at the Kerem Shalom Crossing, in the southern Negev. The officials described this demand as weird adding that there is no chance that Israel will accept such a demand.