PA decries Sharon security zone plan

The Palestinian Authority has said Israel's decision to set a security zone area in northern Gaza Strip would hinder efforts to maintain the agreed period of calm and to organise legislative elections.

    Sharon ordered a security zone to be set up in northern Gaza

    Tawfiq Abu Khawsa, spokesman of the Palestinian Interior Ministry, told Aljazeera on Monday that Israeli plans amounted to infringement of the sovereignty of the Palestinian Authority.

    Ariel Sharon, the prime minister of Israel, pressed the Israeli army on Sunday to establish a security zone in the northern Gaza Strip to prevent continued rocket attacks.

    Sharon gave the orders during a second meeting with security officials on Sunday after previous talks on Thursday. 
    He told ministers that he had decided on an "energetic response" to Palestinian rocket fire, public radio reported.
    Any Palestinian straying into the no-man's land, the extent of which would be determined by Israel, could be shot by troops from across the border.

    Abu Khawsa accused Israel of trying to use the supposed security plan as "an excuse to reoccupy the area". 
    "Before the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza, Israeli forces were deployed in northern and eastern Gaza Strip, considering them isolated security areas," he said. 
    But a pretext

    "However, Israel was unable to prevent missile attacks launched from Gaza Strip despite Israeli and Palestinian efforts to prevent them. 
    "Therefore, I believe the current plan to establish an isolated area in northern Gaza Strip is nothing but a pretext to reoccupy the area."

    The main Palestinian groups have been observing an informal truce since the start of the year although an upsurge in violence is predicted before Palestinian elections in January.

    "I believe the current plan to establish an isolated area in northern Gaza Strip is nothing but a pretext to reoccupy the area"

    Tawfiq Abu Khusa,
    Palestinian Interior Ministry spokesman

    Meanwhile, Israel has not ruled out the participation of Palestinians in East Jerusalem in the forthcoming Palestinian legislative elections, adding that it does not want to give Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, an excuse to postpone the elections.

    For its part, Abu Khusa said, the Palestinian Authority was ready to hold the elections in all Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem. 
    However, the Israeli aggression in all Palestinian territories obstructs this, he said.
    "The Israeli side attempts to impose these obstacles and then ignore the consequences," he said.

    SOURCE: Aljazeera + Agencies


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