Intelligence Minister Israel Katz said Tuesday that restoring the Palestinian Authority’s control over Gaza would be a threat to Israel’s security.
Israeli news outlets, said the rejection came at a meeting between members of the top-level security cabinet, who have spoken out against a proposal for the Gaza Strip that was said to have been discussed during secret talks between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi.
“Any attempt to return Abbas to Gaza and to connect between Gaza and the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and Jerusalem by way of a ‘secure passage’ which crosses Israel, will be a direct threat and a serious impact to Israel’s security and the demographic balance between Israel and the Palestinians,” Katz told the Israel Hayom daily.
“It is understandable and the matter should be debated and decided in the cabinet. Israel’s policy regarding Gaza must be clear — civilian separation between Gaza and Israel and the stretching of a clear border security line between Israel and Gaza,” Katz told Israel Hayom, which is seen as being aligned with the Likud party led by Netanyahu.
According to the newspaper, other cabinet ministers are also opposed to the deal Netanyahu and Sissi discussed.
A Likud cabinet member not identified in the report said, “Hamas will never give up on control of the Gaza Strip; therefore, such proposals are detached from reality.”
According to the report, ministers are wary of any unity deal between Fatah and Hamas. A deal struck between the two last year, but largely unimplemented, was met by an Israeli refusal to negotiate with the PA if it included Hamas as part of a unity government.
Most international parties view a Fatah-Hamas power sharing agreement as a necessary step toward reaching a deal to ease the Strip’s dire humanitarian situation.
On Monday, Channel 10 television news reported that Netanyahu secretly traveled to Egypt in May to meet with Sissi. Quoting unnamed American officials, the report said the focus of the trip was to discuss an arrangement in the Gaza Strip that would see the return of the PA to power there, a ceasefire between Israel and the Hamas resistance group, the easing of the Israeli and Egyptian blockades on the Strip, and steps to advance humanitarian projects.
During the meeting with Netanyahu, Sissi stressed to Netanyahu that the PA must be allowed to regain control of Gaza and take responsibility for the territory, according to the report.
Channel 10 said the Netanyahu trip to Egypt took place on May 22 and most ministers in the security cabinet were not aware of the meeting between the leaders.
(Source / 14.08.2018)