Israeli Intelligence and Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz said yesterday that connecting the Gaza Strip with the West Bank is a “direct threat to Israel’s security”, Arab48reported.
“Any attempt to return [Mahmoud] Abbas to Gaza and to connect between Gaza and the Palestinian Authority in Judea and Samaria [the West Bank] by way of a ‘secure passage’ which crosses Israel, will be a direct threat and a serious impact to Israel’s security,” Katz told Israel Hayom.
Katz also said that such a plan would have a “serious impact” on the “demographic balance between Israel and the Palestinians.”
He added: “Israel’s policy regarding Gaza must be clear — civilian separation between Gaza and Israel and the stretching of a clear border security line between Israel and Gaza.”
The Israeli daily also reported other members of the Israeli cabinet opposing the deal discussed by the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sissi.
A Likud cabinet member, not identified in the report, said: “Hamas will never give up on control of the Gaza Strip; therefore, such proposals are detached from reality.”
On Monday, Israeli TV Channel 10reported that Netanyahu secretly travelled to Egyptin May to meet with Al-Sisi.
An American official was quoted saying that they discussed arrangements in the Gaza Strip that would see the return of the PA, a ceasefire with Hamas, easing of Israeli and Egyptian blockades on the besieged coastal enclave and advancing humanitarian projects.