Barriers to be Built between Israel, PA

Published June 21st, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak has instructed the peace directorate in his office to coordinate the preparation of a "separation plan along the seam" - the boundary line - between Israel and the Palestinian Authority that will be established as part of the permanent settlement, reported Haaretz. 

The plan is being formulated jointly by the Israeli military, the police, the office of the coordinator of government activities in the territories, and the ministries of finance, transport and regional cooperation, said the paper. 

In a letter to all those bodies, the head of the peace directorate, Shaul Arieli, stated that according to the guideline he received from Barak, the underlying concept should be "separation between the two entities together with possibilities of cooperation." 

A political source who is knowledgeable about the plan told the paper that the separation concept will not refer to a specific line, as the border with the Palestinians has not yet been set, but to principles. 

In a meeting on June 7th, the peace directorate decided to set up four committees: 

* The military will draft a proposal to build a fence between Israel and the PA, along with trenches and other engineering obstacles to prevent the crossing of the line. 

* A joint team of the transport ministry and the civil aviation authority will present a proposal for a number of passages between the two entities. Currently, dozens of "spontaneous" crossings exist.  

* The ministry of regional cooperation and the office of the coordinator of government activities in the territories will put forward ideas for economic and other cooperation on both sides of the line, such as the establishment of industrial zones that can be entered from either direction. This will provide employment opportunities for the Palestinians without their having to enter Israel. 

* A security committee will examine the deployment of police units along the line and coordination arrangements between them and the Palestinian security forces. 

The plan is in essence identical to the one drawn up by Moshe Shahal, the public security minister in the government of Yitzhak Rabin, in response to the wave of terrorist attacks in Israel in 1995 and 1996, according to Haaretz - Albawaba.com 

© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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