Mideast envoy urges deal on Gaza
Updated: 2005-11-14 09:02
Speaking at the same event, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon called on the
Palestinians not to waste the opportunity created by the Gaza withdrawal.
He said the Palestinian Authority "has to decide whether it chooses the path
of dialogue and peace or if it chooses the path of extremist terrorism and
allows terror groups to exist and participate in the political process before
Israel is adamantly opposed to participation by the militant group Hamas in
upcoming Palestinian parliamentary elections.
An official close to Wolfensohn, who spoke on condition of anonymity because
he was not authorized to talk to the media, said the two sides have made
significant progress on opening the Rafah crossing on the Egyptian border,
Gaza's main link to the outside world. He said the sides were further apart on
reopening Karni, but a deal was reachable within 48 hours. Wolfensohn leaves the
Middle East on Wednesday.
Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz, who was participating in Sunday's talks
with Palestinian Cabinet minister Mohammed Dahlan, said Israel was working to
open the Rafah terminal "as soon as possible."
The international community wants a deal sealed well before the Jan. 25
Palestinian parliamentary election to boost moderate Palestinian leader Mahmoud
Abbas, who is fighting off a challenge by Hamas.
An Israeli Arab truck driver loads cargo at
the Karni crossing between Israel and the Gaza Strip, southern Israel ,
Wednesday Nov. 9, 2005. Dozens of trucks lined up on both sides of this
Gaza-Israel crossing, inching forward over a period of hours to deliver
their cargo: Gaza-made wooden chairs and Mediterranean shrimps for Israel,
and Israeli milk and cement for the coastal strip.
Abbas has promised not to reopen the Rafah crossing without Israeli approval,
but his government has been pushing to get the key crossing opened earlier.
Talks between the two sides have faltered over Israel's demand to monitor the
Rafah terminal via closed-circuit TV. The Palestinians say European monitors to
be stationed there should suffice to stop militants and weapons smugglers.
Meanwhile, Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., said Sunday in Jerusalem that she
supports the 425-mile separation barrier Israel is building along the edges of
the West Bank, and that the onus is on the Palestinian Authority to fight
"This is not against the Palestinian people," Clinton said while touring a
section of the barrier. "This is against the terrorists. The Palestinian people
have to help to prevent terrorism."
Israel says the structure is needed to keep suicide bombers from entering the
country. Palestinians say it has prevented thousands of people from reaching
their jobs, schools and farmland.
Violence also flared late Saturday as Israeli forces shot and killed a
Palestinian militant in the West Bank town of Jenin, the Israeli military said.
Army officials said the troops believed the militant was going to open fire on a
nearby military post.