Senior Israeli officials informed international representatives that Israeli does not intend to implement the agreement which allows bus convoys to travel between the Gaza Strip and the west Bank, until the security conditions improve.
Brigadier-General Eitan Dangot, the Israeli army liaison to Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz, and Major General Yossi Mishlav, met on Friday afternoon in Tel Aviv with representatives of the International Community and informed them on Israel’s decision.
They stated that there is no chance the convoy can start operating on the agreed date (December 15) since “Israel needs at least one week to make the needed preparations”.
Dangot said that Israel has no intention at this stage to renew talks with the Palestinian Authority.
Meanwhile, Colonel David Welch, the U.S. assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs, told international representatives that the Americans are determined to see the convoys run by December 15 in accordance to the agreement.
Senior officials at the Palestinian Authority said that they received similar indications from the Us Consul in Jerusalem, Jacob Walles.
Israeli online daily Haaretz reported that Israeli diplomatic sources fear that freezing the convoy deal could torpedo next week’s London conference on the rehabilitation of Gaza in the wake of Israel’s withdrawal, which will nullify the benefits Jerusalem had gained as a result of the disengagement plan.
Mishlav and Dangot argued that the P.A is not abiding to its commitments and threatened to intensify the security checks at the Eretz and Kanri crossings “if the P.A does not begin its obligations by Sunday”.
At a meeting held by Quartet representatives in Jerusalem on Friday morning, American officials made clear that the Palestinians are fulfilling their end of the Rafah agreement, and that the disagreements stem from technological matters that the Israelis raised as part of new demands.
Several western diplomats said on Wednesday that they predict the participants at the London conference are likely to criticize Israel for failing to implement the convoy agreement.
Meanwhile, Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Ereket was set to ask the United States on Friday to pressure Israel to renew negotiations on the convoys between, Israel Radio reported Friday.