Western diplomats expressed concerns that Israel will start operating the convoys between the Gaza Strip and the west Bank on a merely token fashion to oblige the American administration, which practiced pressure on Israel to implement the deal, Israeli online daily Haaretz reported.
Israeli officials said on Wednesday that Israel plans to complete the preparations on Friday or operating the convoys; a formal announcement will be made on the issue on Friday.
This announcement retracts an Israeli cabinet decision to halt all talks over bus convoys with the Palestinian Authority following the suicide bombing in Netanya; Israel demanded the P.A to take security measures before conducting any talks.
Officials at Sharon’s office reported on Thursday, that the convoy deal is dependant on the security situation, and that the bombing might put on hold in the event of any further attack.
Meanwhile, Israeli Chief of Staff, Dan Halutz, said last Monday that the convoys will not operate until the firing of homemade shells stops completely.
No direct talks were held between Israel and the Palestinian Authority over the past few days regarding the convoys deal, but it held talks with the United States regarding this issue, the means of operating the convoys, and prepared forms for registering Palestinians who want to use the convoys.
Haaretz added that officials at the Israeli Defense Ministry hope that the remaining technical issues regarding operating the Rafah Border Terminal were resolved by the time of the convoys start running.
Recently, the United States, along with several other countries, has exerted pressure on Israel on order to abide by the agreement and permit the convoys to begin running as planned.
American Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, C. David Welch, said on Wednesday that bus convoys between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank would begin as scheduled.
The statements of Welch came, at a London conference of donors to the Palestinian Authority, even before Israel consented to the US pressures to abide by its obligations.
The convoys deal was singed between Israel and the Palestinian Authority last month.
Also, Welch added that the primary goal of the US administration now to revive the Palestinian economy.
Meanwhile, Yossi Gal, the Israeli deputy director general of the Foreign Ministry, said at the London conference that “there is no contradiction between Israel’s security and the recovery of the Palestinians economic”.
Yet, Israeli deputy Defense Minister, Ze’ev Boim, reported in Thursday that the convoy agreement, signed with the P.A, was a mistake, the Israeli Radio reported.
He added that the US administration should have practiced pressure over the Palestinian Authority, “which has done nothing to counter the attacks”, according to Boim.