Israel to discuss Gaza-W. Bank convoys

A date was not yet set for the inauguration of the experimental shuttle service.

soldiers enter jeep 298. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
soldiers enter jeep 298.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
The Defense Ministry on Thursday decided to renew talks with the Palestinian Authoriy over the plans for convoys to travel between the Gaza Strip and West Bank. At this stage, officials are not talking about operating a safe passage, rather, about a security trial that will include five buses everyday, carrying a total of 250 Palestinians. A date was not yet set for the inauguration of the trial. The probable decision to allow the experiment comes after Israel examined information about current activity at the Rafah crossing. Israel will inform the US as to how the convoys will work, and of their exact point of origin. There is to be a thorough security check at the Erez crossing, and Israeli police will escort the convoy until Tarkumiya. Deputy Defense Minister Ze'ev Boim attacked the plans to allow the convoys, saying it was the "wrong decision." He expressed hopes that the arrangement would not go through. Boim encouraged Israel to explain to the United States that they were putting pressure on the wrong people; he said that the Palestinian Authority should be bullied for not ending terror, not Israel. A security official told Israel Radio that the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) would establish the criteria necessary to obtain a passage permit. The official noted that age would be a factor in whether a visitor to the West Bank is allowed to enter. Israeli officials denied Wednesday that international pressure had contributed to the reversal. An aide to Mofaz instead pointed to improvements in transferring information from the Rafah border to Israeli monitors, a key point of contention since the Palestinians assumed control of the Egypt crossing point.