Archive for Wednesday, November 2, 2005

Israel to allow European inspectors at border

November 2, 2005

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— Israel on Tuesday approved the deployment of European inspectors at the Gaza-Egypt border, a breakthrough after weeks of slow-moving talks and a major step toward giving the Palestinians freedom of movement without Israeli controls for the first time in four decades.

Israel's Security Cabinet agreed to deploy the European inspectors to replace Israeli border personnel, who had controlled Palestinian movement in and out of Gaza since capturing the territory in the 1967 Mideast war.

Israel in the past has objected to international peacekeepers, although it did agree to a monitoring group in the West Bank town of Hebron as well as an international peacekeeping force in the Sinai desert as part of a peace deal with Egypt and a U.N. disengagement observer force in the Golan Heights.

Israel and the Palestinians still disagree over how much authority the inspectors should have - the Palestinians consider them to be advisers, while Israel wants them to be in charge.

Israel also wants to be able to monitor the traffic at the Rafah crossing via closed-circuit TV, a demand the Palestinians reject.

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