Archive for Saturday, December 10, 2005

Israel demands better border security

December 10, 2005

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— Israel threatened on Friday to restrict trade across its frontier with Gaza if the Palestinians fail to address its security concerns at the newly opened border crossing between Gaza and Egypt within two days.

The restrictions, if carried out, would further choke Gaza's already shaky economy and damage hopes for renewed cooperation between Israel and the Palestinians following Israel's pullout from the Gaza Strip in September.

The threat was made at a meeting between Israeli officials and international mediators. The Associated Press obtained notes of the session.

Israel has complained in recent days that the Palestinians were violating a U.S.-brokered agreement by not providing instant information on people crossing from Egypt into Gaza. As a result, Israel said last week, up to 15 militants, including the brother of Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar, were allowed in.

The Rafah terminal opened Nov. 26 under the supervision of European monitors, giving Palestinians control of a border for the first time.

U.S. officials told a separate meeting of the so-called Quartet of international mediators Friday that the Palestinians were complying with the Rafah agreement and that any delay in relaying information was the result of technological problems that American experts were trying to resolve, according to notes of that meeting also obtained by the AP.

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