Israel Army Chief of Staff Dan Halutz reported on Tuesday that Israel would not implement the bus convoy agreement between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank until the Palestinian Authority (P.A) “cracks down on the launching of homemade shells into Israel”.
The statements of Halutz came while he was talking in front of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.
Israeli sources reported that the statements of Halutz raised the anger of the countries participating in a conference of donors to the P.A slated to open on Wednesday, in London.
Israeli online daily Haaretz quoted a western diplomat saying that the suspension of the Gaza-West Bank bus convoys violates the Israeli agreement with the U.S. Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice.
Diplomats at the London conference said that they hope that Israel fully understands the critical effects of this decision on its obligations.
David Welch, the U.S. assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs, said on Tuesday that the US would like the agreements to be implemented without delays.
“I’m confident they will be able to do it, there are people who want to disturb this and other agreements, and they resort to violence and terror to do so”, Welch stated, “This agreement offers the Palestinian better chances in Gaza, so that it won’t be a big prison”.
Also, the Quartet nations and the United States have stepped, over the weekend, the pressure on Israel to fulfill its obligations and implement the agreement it signed last month in order to facilitate the border crossings.
The Quartet asked Israel to resume the talks with the P.A on enabling the bus convoys, and to reduce the harshness of the military closure imposed on the West Bank and barring the residents from practicing their daily lives.
According to Haaretz, Senior Israeli government source expressed concern that the Israeli violations to the agreement and the harsh procedures in the occupied territories would turn the conference into “an anti-Israeli event which will wear away the achievements Israel made during disengagement.
Yet, Israeli officials said that Israel will not implement the agreement “until better times”.