For Cairo deal, Israel calls for ban in Gaza on all but light arms, free hand against tunnels, rocket plants
debkafile reports exclusively on the terms Israel handed in to the Cairo talks Wednesday Aug. 6 for a durable peace on the Gaza Strip. In the document Shin Bet Director Yoram Cohen, who leads the Israeli delegation, put before the Egyptian intermediaries, the first key condition is based on the Oslo 2 Accords, which restricted Palestinian brigades in the Gaza Strip and Judea and Samaria to bearing light firearms. The second condition would grant the Israeli military the freedom of action to strike a tunnel system designed for terrorist attacks and demolish plants manufacturing missiles.
Israel requires these two measures to be incorporated in any accords reached at the Cairo conference.
The 19-year old Oslo 2 accord, concluded in Washington on Sept. 28 1995, permitted Palestinian security forces to be equipped solely with light firearms take booty by Israel in the Galilee Peace operation against Palestinian forces in southern Lebanon.
The application of this provision to the Cairo accords, if signed, would outlaw Hamas’ possession of rockets of all types and heavy or sophisticated weaponry of any kind.
This provision has replaced Israel’s original demand for the full demilitarization of the Gaza Strip. Its implementation would require Hamas and other terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip to get rid of all their heavy weapons, including heavy machine guns and mortars.
Other members of the Israeli delegation are Yitzhak Molcho, personal adviser to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Amos Gilead, political coordinator at the Defense Ministry.
They submitted five more terms for a Gaza deal:
1. An inspection mechanism, whose nature remains to be determined, will be set up to monitor the 1-3 km deep security belt Israel is carving out inside the Gaza Strip along the 75 kilometers of its security border fence. This mechanism will ascertain that no military activity takes place.
2. Gaza will not be allowed to have either an airport or a deep water port, as Hamas is demanding.
3. All reconstruction work in the Gaza Strip or repairing the war damage, whether by the international community or Israel, will be channeled through the Palestinian Authority Chairman, Mahmoud Abbas.
4. All of Gaza’s border crossings will be manned and operated by Palestinian Authority security personnel. Egypt and Israel have submitted this demand with regard to both their border terminals.
5. Gaza reconstruction work will take place under international supervision.
debkafile’s sources in Cairo report that, after the senior Palestinian negotiator Assam Ahmed found acceptable Israel’s terms regarding Gaza armaments, a heated altercation erupted between the PA and Hamas delegations. Some Hamas envoys threatened to walk out if those terms were tabled and its own rejected. For now, they have refused to extend the three-day truce beyond Friday, Aug. 8.
The Israeli envoys figure that the negotiations may well stretch out over weeks, if not months.