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Israel demands formation of bilateral committee to supervise entry of construction material to Gaza

Israeli sources reported Sunday that the Israeli authorities have not changed the regulations imposed on the entry of goods and construction material into the Gaza Strip through the Karem Abu Salem crossing, despite the passage of five days since the cease-fire agreement signed with the Palestinian factions went into effect.

The sources said the Israeli government informed international, regional and Palestinian sides that it will not change its regulations on the entry of construction material into Gaza Strip unless they are monitored by the Palestinian Authority, Israel and the United Nations.

The sources pointed out that the Israeli government demanded that the committee which will supervise entry of goods must consist of the coordinator of the Israeli government activities in the West Bank, General Yoav Mordechai, and the United Nations envoy for the Middle East peace process, Robert Serry, and Palestinian Prime Minister, Rami Hamdallah.

Head of the committee that coordinates the entry of goods into the Gaza Strip from Israel in the Palestinian Economy Ministry, Raed Fattouh said the “commercial traffic in the Karm Abu Salem did not witness any change until Sunday and has been working according to the same regulations since the Israeli war on the Gaza Strip”. The crossing allows entry of food and medical relief material only, he said.

The Gaza Strip is connected to Israel through two crossings; the first is the Beit Hanoun crossing in the northern Gaza Strip which is used by individuals to travel to the West Bank and the Karam Abu Salem crossing in the southern the Gaza Strip, which is used for commercial material. Israel closed four commercial crossings with Gaza in 2007 following Hamas takeover of the Gaza Strip.

A leader of the Islamic Jihad and a member of the Palestinian negotiating team in Cairo, Khaled al-Batsh said Sunday that the Palestinian delegation was waiting for the Egyptian invitation to return to Cairo to resume the indirect talks with Israel and discuss the outstanding issues.

In response to assertions by the Director General of the General Administration of Crossings and Borders, GACB Nazmi Muhanna that there has not been any changes in the movement of material through the crossings after the end of the war on Gaza, al- Batsh said: “the Palestinian Authority has a clear mission to prepare a detailed report of the goods that must enter Gaza and their quantities and to submit it to the Palestinian negotiating delegation which, in turn will submit it to the Egyptian competent bodies who sponsor the cease-fire agreement”.

He stressed that the Egyptian side has requested that the report highlights any Israeli breaches of the cease-fire agreement.

Al- Batsh commented on threats launched by Israel’s Justice Minister, Tzivi Livni about the possibility of resuming a new round of violence with Gaza, saying: “No one can trust Israel because it is an enemy, but again there is an agreement and understandings with the Israelis and we demand Egypt, the official sponsor of the talks to oblige Israel to respect the cease-fire terms. In case Israel breached the agreement, we have many options to follow”.

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