Hamas: We won’t let PA manage Kerem Shalom crossing

By
September 19, 2010 01:27

Movement claims that the move is aimed at paving the way for the return of the PA to the entire Gaza Strip.

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Kerem Shalom

Kerem Shalom 311. (photo credit: Associated Press)

Hamas said on Saturday that it is strongly opposed to plans to bring the Palestinian Authority back to the Kerem Shalom (Karm Abu Salem) border crossing between Israel and the Gaza Strip.

The movement said that the proposed move was aimed at paving the way for the return of the PA to the entire Gaza Strip.

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Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said that his movement was seeking “real partnership” with the PA in managing the affairs of the Palestinians.

Hamas would not accept the presence of PA representatives at the border crossing before the two parties reached agreement on ending their dispute, he said.

The idea of bringing the PA back to the border crossing was designed to create the impression that the Gaza Strip was no longer “under siege and that the Palestinians have control over their border crossings,” Barhoum said.

The Palestinians don’t trust the PA with running their affairs in general and the border crossing in particular, he said.

“The Palestinian Authority has been participating in the siege on the Gaza Strip and played an indirect role in the [Operation Cast Lead] war on the Gaza Strip about two years ago,” he said. “The Palestinian Authority has also cut off the salaries of 30,000 civil servants, blocked international donations from entering the Gaza Strip and raised the price of gasoline.”

In an effort to increase the PA’s influence inside the Gaza Strip, Israel and the PA have been finalizing plans to deploy Palestinian officials at the Kerem Shalom crossing, Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories Maj.-Gen. Eitan Dangot told The Jerusalem Post last week.

In July, Dangot established a committee with Hussein al- Sheikh, the PA minister for civilian affairs, to coordinate the expansion of the Kerem Shalom crossing and future international construction projects in the Gaza Strip.

The work being done at Kerem Shalom includes the construction of infrastructure that could be used by the PA if it were to control the Gaza side of the crossing, which is the main conduit for supplies going into the Strip. Since June, Israel has increased the number of trucks crossing daily into Gaza from around 100 to close to 250.

The possible deployment of PA officials at Kerem Shalom is part of a larger international and Israeli effort to enable PA President Mahmoud Abbas to reestablish a presence in the Strip, even if a minimal one.


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