Israel to reopen Rafah within 1 month

Mofaz and Mubarak agree to allow third party to monitor Gaza crossings.

gaza map 248 88 (photo credit: )
gaza map 248 88
(photo credit: )
The Rafah Crossing should be in operation within a month, Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz said Wednesday following a meeting in Cairo with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. "We adopted the Egyptian proposal concerning Rafah," Mofaz said. "This means that passengers will be able to move from Gaza to Egypt and Egypt to Gaza through the Rafah passage." "The trucks and goods will (cross) at Kerem Shalom," Mofaz said following a meeting with Mubarak at his Al-Itehadah palace. "And this to be accomplished in one month." Mofaz also said Israel had agreed for a third party to monitor the Egyptian-Palestinian crossing, but that the details still had to be worked out. Egypt and the Palestinians have expressed support for a European presence. Mofaz also said Israel won't hold political talks with the Palestinian Authority until terrorism has been uprooted in Gaza and the West Bank. "Any kind of diplomatic dialogue in the future will be after the uprooting of the terrorist infrastructure in the West Bank and Gaza," Mofaz told reporters. On Wednesday morning, Israel opened the Gaza crossings of Karni and Erez, which were closed after the firing of Kassam rockets over the holiday and despite the recent firing overnight Wednesday. On Tuesday, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice urged Israel to dramatically ease conditions at the border crossings to and from the Gaza Strip and to lift restrictions on freedom of movement for Palestinians in the West Bank.