Steinitz: Rafah deal was never signed

'Nothing resembling an agreement was reached; the gov't bowed to US pressure.'

abbas rafah298 (photo credit: AP)
abbas rafah298
(photo credit: AP)
MK Yuval Steinitz (Likud) accused Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz Wednesday of misleading the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee in his statement that a final agreement had been reached with the Palestinians over the Rafah border crossing. Steinitz, who chairs the committee, claimed that no such agreement had ever been reached, and that the terms that US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice left in place had actually been objected to by both sides. "If there's an agreement, it must be presented, and if there is no agreement it would be a serious infringement of our democracy," he said. Steinitz said that Mofaz outlined the agreement for MKs in his appearance before the committee on November 15. The committee then requested signed drafts of the agreement, but the request was denied by Mofaz, who explained that the draft contained top secret information. Steinitz said the committee then launched its own investigation and has come to believe that no agreement regarding the Gaza Strip crossings has been reached. "After our own investigation into the IDF and Ministry of Defense, we feel that nothing resembling an agreement was ever reached," said Steinitz. "The government bowed to US pressure. They wanted to present a nice picture to Israelis." The Defense Ministry has not responded to the allegations. Steinitz pointed out that several leading Israeli dailies wrote that an agreement had been signed and reached. The Jerusalem Post, however, reported on November 16 that no legal agreement was signed in the first place.