Head of the Palestinian negotiations department, Saeb Eriqat, believed today that once Israel reoccupies the Gaza Strip, a humanitarian disaster would emerge in the most densely-populated part of the world, where 1.5 million residents live.

Eriqat’s remarks came on the side line of a meeting with Brazilian foreign minister, Silso Amorim, in the West Bank city of Jericho.

The Palestinian official said that a state of calm in both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip has become an imperative to preserve the peace process.

To better achieve this goal, the Fatah-loyal official called on the ruling Hamas movement in Gaza to renounce control over the coastal region.

He also demanded an immediate ease of the Israeli closure and siege of the Gaza Strip in order to avert a humanitarian crisis there.

On another issue, Eriqat denied media reports that Palestinians and Israelis agreed to delay talks on the status of the occupied east Jerusalem as well as the problem of Palestinian refugees.

‘I don’t understand how Jerusalem’s issue can be delayed while the negotiations did not start yet and talks over the final-status issues did not open,’ Erekat told Voice of Palestine.

Israeli media reports said that Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Omert, speaking in Berlin, announced that peace talks on Jerusalem have been delayed.

He hoped that the year 2008 will be a year of peace after Israel would have already dismantled settlement blocs, removed roadblocks and recognized the boundaries of Palestinian state within the 1967 border lines.

Recently, Israeli government officials have threatened of carrying out a large-scale offensive on the coastal Strip, to undermine the Hamas regime over there.