PA official removed from post for meet with Israelis

Khalil Faraj met with Israeli officials in attempts to bring construction material into the Gaza Strip without consulting superiors.

October 18, 2012 05:12
1 minute read.
Erez Crossing in northern Gaza

Erez Crossing 311 (R). (photo credit: Mohammed Salem/Reuters)

The PA has removed a Palestinian liaison from his job after he recently met with Israeli counterparts to discuss easing restrictions imposed on the Gaza Strip without permission, officials revealed Wednesday.

Palestinian Authority officials said that Khalil Faraj, who was responsible for civilian coordination with Israel in the Gaza Strip, was reassigned to an administrative job in the PA’s Civilian Affairs Ministry.

Faraj’s main job was to coordinate with Israeli officials regarding the issuing of travel permits for Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and the entry of goods into the area.

The London-based al-Quds al-Arabi newspaper quoted PA officials as confirming that the liaison had been reassigned to another job.

The officials said that the PA has decided to appoint Maher Abu al-Ouf as his replacement.

Faraj was among a group of Palestinians who recently met at the Erez border crossing with IDF officers and representatives of the Israeli Civil Administration. The meeting focused on the Palestinians’ demand that Israel allow them to bring construction material into the Gaza Strip in light of Qatar’s decision to allocate some $300 million for various economic projects.

Faraj was removed from his job because he had not sought permission from his superiors in Ramallah to meet with the Israelis and discuss ways of easing restrictions imposed on the Gaza Strip, the PA officials told the newspaper.

Although Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip in 2007, it allowed a number of officials from the PA Civilian Affairs Ministry to keep their jobs so that they could continue coordinating with Israel about the entry of goods into the area. These officials were also responsible for seeking permits for Palestinian patients to receive medical aid in Israel and the West Bank.

A Hamas legislator said that the decision to remove the liaison officer from his post was “proof that the Palestinian Authority leadership was seeking to block efforts to rebuild the Gaza Strip.” The legislator claimed that the PA leadership in the West Bank had expressed reservations about Qatar’s plan to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in the Gaza Strip.

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