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Cabinet approves Rafah crossing arrangements

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    Last update - 14:18 01/11/2005 Cabinet approves Rafah crossing arrangements http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/640350.html By Yoav Stern, Haaretz
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 1, 2005
      Last update - 14:18 01/11/2005

      Cabinet approves Rafah crossing arrangements
      http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/640350.html
      By Yoav Stern, Haaretz Correspondent and Haaretz Service


      The cabinet on Tuesday approved the proposal under which European Union
      personnel will operate the Rafah border crossing between the Gaza Strip and
      Egypt.

      According to the decision, the EU personnel will enforce security procedures
      stipulated by Israel.

      The cabinet said in a statement issued after the meeting, that stationing an
      EU force is of great importance to Israel, and that it is vital that the EU
      personnel are granted substantial enforcement capabilities.

      Earlier on Tuesday, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon told Italian Foreign Minister
      Ginafranco Fini in Jerusalem that Israel wishes to consider EU operatives as
      enforcement officials and not just as observers.

      Vice Premier Shimon Peres' office will hold diplomatic talks with the EU,
      while the Ministry of Defense will oversee the security arrangements. Once the
      crossing's operation plan is approved in principle, negotiations will be held
      with the Palestinian Authority directly.

      Israeli requirements
      According to the plan, only passengers registered on the Palestinian
      population rolls would be allowed entry into the Gaza Strip. Exceptions would
      be made only in extreme circumstances. Other nationals would enter the Strip
      at the Kerem Shalom crossing just south of Israel's border with Gaza.

      Israel views these requirements as an imperative condition for the operation
      of the Rafah crossing, in order to prevent the entry of hostile operatives
      into the Strip. As part of Israel's security demands, it will have
      long-distance access to closed circuit cameras installed at the crossing and
      the Palestinian border control information system.

      Security checks and customs would be held according to Israeli requirements as
      well.
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