PM Ariel Sharon and PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas meet at the prime minister’s residence in Jerusalem.

 PM Sharon meets with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas

 

(Reuters)

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon made the following remarks following his meeting with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas in Jerusalem on 21 June 2005 (translated from Hebrew):

"I clearly expressed to the chairman of the Palestinian Authority our great concern regarding the security situation. We see many good intentions on the part of the Palestinian Authority, however, unfortunately, at the same time, there is no concrete preventative action.

We have the desire to move forward together with the Palestinians, via the Roadmap, and to attain actual security and tranquility in our region, but such political advancement will not be implemented without real cessation of terrorism. 

During the meeting we agreed upon full coordination of our departure from the Gaza Strip. Coordination of our departure from Gaza will assure a quiet withdrawal, a move which is the best for both sides. Nevertheless, we will not allow a situation in which the disengagement will take place under fire.

We will not stop the disengagement; we will stop the terrorism. I believe we can look forward with optimism."

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The following points summarize the meeting between Prime Minister Sharon and PA Chairman Abbas:

The Escalation of Terrorism: The greatest threat to the peace process is terrorism. It will not be possible to progress towards peace without an effective effort by the Palestinian Authority to put an end to terrorism and genuinely prevent terrorist attacks. Good intentions on the part of the PA are not enough. Prime Minister Sharon reiterated to Mr. Abbas that he is willing to extend assistance and to implement confidence building measures toward the Palestinians, while stressing that the extent of this assistance is dependent upon the degree to which calm will prevail.
 
Coordinating the Disengagement: Israel’s disengagement initiative will be carried out on schedule, difficulties notwithstanding. There will, however, be no disengagement under fire. If there is such fire, Israel will deal with it firmly, and continue with the process. A calm and coordinated disengagement will bring the best results for both sides, and will help to build confidence between them. It was decided that the private homes in the Katif settlement bloc will be demolished, and that the debris will be removed by Palestinian contractors with international funding.
 
Transfer of Cities to Palestinian Control: Israel will continue with the process of transferring security control of West Bank cities to the Palestinian Authority. Consequently, the cities of Bethlehem and Qalqilyah are scheduled to be transferred within two weeks, and will be followed by the city of Ramallah.
 
The Release of Prisoners: Israel has carried out its Sharm e-Sheikh Summit commitment in this regard, and has already freed 900 Palestinian security prisoners.  Israel’s Justice Ministry is now considering a further list submitted by the Palestinians, containing the names of prisoners who have already served over 20 years. After this review has been completed, Israel will provide the Palestinians with an answer regarding possible further prisoner releases.
 
Air and Sea Ports: Israel gave its consent to break ground on the construction of a Gaza sea port. Israel and the PA also decided to initiate the planning of an airport, and that both ports would begin operation only following coordination with Israel.
 
Upgrading Crossing Terminals: It was decided to upgrade the crossing facilities between the PA and Israel, and to enhance their commercial possibilities.
 
Humanitarian Measures: Israel decided to implement a series of humanitarian measures for the benefit of the Palestinian population, including: 

  • Admitting 26,000 Palestinian workers for employment in Israel
  • Admitting 16,000 Palestinian worker for employment in Jewish communities in the West Bank
  • Issuing 13,400 commercial travel permits from Gaza to Israel and to the West Bank for Palestinian merchants
  • Issuing 2,100 travel permits for Palestinians employed by international organizations
  • Extending the operation hours of the crossing facilities at Karni and Rafah
  • Issuing VIP credentials in accordance with the PA’s own criteria

Palestinian Weapons: Prime Minister Sharon stressed that he will not consent to supplying the Palestinians with further weapons, yet will agree to the supply of ancillary equipment such as radios, vehicles, uniforms and the like.