Palestinian team for Gaza pullback

The Palestinian Authority has set up a security planning team to prepare for Israel's withdrawal from the Gaza Strip starting in August.

    Dahlan (L) took part in pullback talks

    The announcement about the group, comprising security and government officials, was made on Saturday after talks between Palestinian Interior Minister Nasser Yousef and Israeli Defence Minister Shaul Mofaz in which both sides pledged to coordinate parts of the pullout.

       

    "The security planning team will set the transitional plans to deal with the Israeli pullout,"the Palestinian interior ministry said in a statement in Gaza, without elaborating.

    Earlier, moves to coordinate the Israeli pullback were discussed in Tel Aviv at a meeting between Israeli Defence Minister Shaul Mofaz and Palestinian Civil Affairs Minister Mohammed Dahlan.

    Dahlan warned Israel that the pullback would be a failure without Israel easing its restrictions on freedom of movement for Palestinians.

    He called on Israel for the reopening of the Yasser Arafat International airport, close to the Egyptian border, as well as the opening of safe-passage routes between Gaza and the West Bank.

    The airport was seized by Israeli occupation troops in January 2002.

    Fate of homes

    Palestinians say they have a
    right to react to Israeli actions

    Dahlan said he had asked Mofaz for a detailed report on the homes which would be left intact in the settlements.

    Mofaz responded by saying a decision on their fate would, however, only be taken in the next 10 days.

    Should Israel decide to leave the properties standing, Dahlan said a special force would be tasked with protecting them, along with any other structures left intact.

    The pullback operation is due to begin in mid-August and last for about 10 weeks.

    Meanwhile, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas was heading back to his Ram Allah headquarters after talks with different groups in Gaza City during which he urged them not to respond to Israeli actions.

    Abbas was wrapping up a two-day visit to Gaza on Saturday which was dominated by urgent talks with different Palestinian groups.

    "If you want to achieve peace and security, it is in our national interest to maintain calm," he said on Thursday on Palestinian television. "We must maintain calm despite the continuous provocations from Israel."

    "We must maintain calm despite the continuous provocations from Israel"

    Mahmoud Abbas,
    Palestinian President

    Although the groups have maintained an uneasy calm since January, they told Abbas they reserved the right to respond to Israeli aggressions.

    Activists held

     

    In other news, Aljazeera's correspondent in Palestine said the Israeli occupation army on Saturday raided Atil, a town north of Tulkarim in the West Bank, and arrested the family members of a senior leader of Islamic Jihad's military wing, al-Quds Brigade.

     

    Israeli soldiers arrested the father and sister of Luay al-Saadi, whom Israel holds responsible for the explosion that rocked a nightclub in Tel Aviv last February. Israel has also accused al-Saadi of planning to carry out other operations in Jerusalem.

    Aljazeera's correspondent said Israel had launched a campaign of targeted assassinations and arrests against senior leaders of the Islamic Jihad following the nightclub attack.

     

    Separately, Islamic Jihad has announced that the Palestinian Authority will release seven of the movement's activists detained in Jericho.

    SOURCE: Aljazeera + Agencies


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