(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)
The Israeli-Palestinian steering committee chaired by Dov Weisglass and Saeb Erekat has met in recent days; both sides expressed their obligation to fully implement their Roadmap commitments and the Sharm el-Sheikh understandings and reiterated the obligation to halt acts of violence.
In order to prepare the agenda for a successful and fruitful meeting between the two leaders, it was decided to resume the work of the joint committees in order to advance the issues on the agenda, including:
- The resumption of the work of the joint security committee in order to – inter alia – discuss the transfer of additional Palestinian cities and their environs to the responsibility of the Palestinian Authority (PA).
- The resumption of the joint committee on fugitives and deportees.
- The resumption of the joint committee on prisoners.
- The resumption of the work of the steering committee.
During the preparatory meetings, various issues regarding the Disengagement Plan were discussed, including the Rafah border crossing, the movement of people and goods between the Gaza Strip and Judea and Samaria and between Palestinian areas and Israel, the status of the areas that Israel exited from in northern Samaria, and issues regarding the Gaza seaport.
It was decided that teams of experts from both sides will meet on a regular basis in order to accelerate the discussions and reach agreements on the aforementioned issues, according to the parameters outlined in Quartet emissary James Wolfensohn’s letter to the prime ministers.
It was agreed that the two leaders would meet regularly in order to personally accompany and evaluate the process and in order to resolve disagreements through dialogue and negotiation. It was also agreed that the committees would meet frequently so that the two leaders would – during their upcoming meeting – be able to evaluate the progress that has been achieved on the aforementioned issues.
Israel stated its intention to initiate an easing of humanitarian and economic restrictions on the Palestinian population.
It was agreed that after PA Chairman Abu Mazen returns from Washington, the two leaders would meet in order to evaluate the committees’ progress.