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ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN SECURITY DEAL

Defense Minister Mofaz: 'Israel Will Have Control Over Border Crossings And Safe Passage Route Between Gaza & West Bank'

Likud MK Netanyahu: 'Israel Has Capitulated To U.S. Secretary Of State Condoleezza Rice On National Security'

Israeli Mayors Adjacent To West Bank: 'We Demand Red Dawn Early Warning Systems For Fear Of Qassam Rockets'

Israel and the Palestinian have agreed on a security deal following Israel's recent withdrawal from the Gaza Strip. After weeks of fruitless bargaining, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice pressed the two sides into hammering out an accord. However, Israeli critics warn that it will put Israeli civilians at risk.

‘Would the U.S. give al Qaeda a port on the Hudson or would Britain’s Tony Blair give al Qaeda a port on the Thames? This is what Israel is doing.’ That’s the reaction of Likud Knesset Member Bibi Netanyahu to the new security deal with the Palestinians. Netanyahu told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that Israel must reject the pressure of visiting U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. He went on say that the new security arrangements between Gaza and Egypt and between Gaza and the West Bank would be exploited by al Qaeda to smuggle more destructive weaponary into the Palestinian areas. Netanyahu warned that terrorist ground to air missiles could even threaten Ben-Gurion Airport near Tel Aviv.

Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz

In committee, Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz said the security measures at the Rafah and Kerm Shalom crossings would provide Israel with real time photos of who was entering Gaza from Egypt. The Europeans will also be participating in this operation. A pilot project of five buses daily will also shutle Palestinians between Gaza and the West Bank. Although Israel had agreed to the Palestinians building a seaport on the Gaza coast, there was no agreement yet on security there. Mofaz concluded that Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas would now face the test on preventing the terrorists from exploiting the new measures that grants the Palestinians greater mobility. And the defense Minister added that Israel could not close off the Palestinians completely after the Gaza withdrawal.

The Israeli mayors of towns opposite the West Bank are worried that Palestinians may launch Qassam rockets at their communities. Shinui Knesset Member Ilan Shalgi says the mayors want the Defense Minister to instal the ‘Red Dawn’ early warning system like in Negev town of Sderot. The system detects the launching of the Qassmas and sets off sirens, which enable civilians to rush to bomb shelters seconds before they land. Mofaz warned: ‘If there is any sign the Palestinians are producing Qassams on the West Bank, the IDF will move in immediately’

David Essing

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