Ministers Approve Plan for EU to Inspect Rafah Border Traffic

(Ha'aretz) Israel's Security Cabinet Tuesday approved a plan calling for EU officials to inspect travelers entering the Gaza Strip from Egypt through the Rafah border crossing. If the plan is realized, it will mark the first time Israel will allow the EU to play a major role in Israeli-Palestinian relations. One of the problems hampering Israeli-Palestinian talks over Rafah is a disagreement over how much authority the European inspectors would wield. The cabinet decided that Israel wants the Europeans to have greater authority than observers and be able to intervene in dangerous security situations. The Rafah crossing is to be limited to use by Palestinians. Other travelers will be compelled to use the Kerem Shalom crossing, controlled by Israel. The Israelis want all goods to go through the Kerem Shalom terminal. The EU has not yet discussed the request. However, inspecting the Rafah terminal could pose a danger to the EU, which may make it think twice about agreeing. European diplomatic officials said the EU has informed Israel and the Palestinians that it is demanding a time limit be placed on its activity in Rafah.

2005-11-02 00:00:00

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