Israel, Gaza Relations After Disengagement
(September 21, 2005)
Vice Prime Minister Shimon Peres convened yesterday (Tuesday September 20) the first coordination meeting among Ministers and relevant offices of the Israeli Government following the disengagement from Gaza. Vice Prime Minister Shimon Peres called this Ministers meeting as a part of his mandate which includes the relations between Israel and Gaza after the disengagement.
In addition to Peres, Interior Minister Pines Paz, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, Internal Security Minister Gideon Ezra, Minister Ramon and senior officials from the Ministries of Infrastructure, Communications, Finance, Trade and Industry, Environment and Agriculture participated in the meeting.
Peres said that "Israel has no intention to turn Gaza into a jail. He added that, "the residents of Gaza must have complete freedom of movement within Gaza, and almost free movement in the entries and exits from Gaza in accordance with Israel's need to protect the security of its citizens." Peres presented a number of subjects that need to be solved in the near future, such as the Rafiah passage, an issue which will be dealt with by the Prime Minister, the Vice Prime Minister, the Defense Minister and the Justice Minister. In this context, Peres indicated that talks are occurring with the Palestinians, as well as the Egyptians with whom Israel attaches"much importance to their participation."
Peres also stated that Israel intends to try to facilitate the Gaza economy, and that the international community should also cooperate to facilitate the existence of a viable Gazan economy, and thus help end the bitterness and the anger. Peres also noted that the economic relations between Israel and Gaza can also benefit Israel economically.
Other issues raised include: water, electricity, sewage, communications, gas, border crossings, and the seaport.
Peres will convene this forum again next week.