Prime Minister Ariel Sharon met Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz and Vice Premier Shimon Peres Sunday to put an end to a simmering turf war regarding Gaza-related issues.
Mofaz and Peres have been elbowing each other for months over who is responsible for various issues related to Gaza.
"Before we talk with [Quartet envoy James] Wolfensohn, the Egyptians, Europeans and the Palestinians about the Rafah crossing, it is necessary to determine who is in charge of what issues," one official involved in Sunday's talks said.
Sunday's meeting was inconclusive, the official said, and another one this time with officials representing Sharon, Peres and Mofaz was scheduled for Wednesday.
While Peres was under the impression that once disengagement was completed he would be in charge of the myriad discussions regarding the future of Gaza and its link with the West Bank, Mofaz has not moved aside, and his people much to the chagrin of Peres's camp continue to conduct negotiations with the Palestinians, Wolfensohn and other international representatives regarding Gaza.
About a month and a half ago Sharon said that all civilian and economic issues would fall under Peres's purview, while security related issues would be Mofaz's terrain. The problem, according to one official involved in the dispute, is that all kinds of issues that on the face of it seem to be civilian and economic also have a security component.
The turf issue has come to a head now as technical teams and committees are being set up to deal with contentious issues like the arrangements that are to be introduced at the Rafah border crossing.