Fayyad calls to open Gaza via 2005 agreement 12Jun10 June 13, 2010

Reuters -  12 June 2010

Washington – Reuters’ Tom Perry sat down with Palestinian PM Salam Fayyad in Ramallah Thursday. There Fayyad called for a reopening of Gaza based on a 2005 agreement meant to reunify the West Bank and Gaza.

“Reopening the crossings actually creates a much better environment for reuniting the country and the Palestinian institutions with it,” the prime minister said.

Fayyad said the renewed international attention on Gaza should result in the opening of land crossings immediately. Other wise, Gaza runs the risk of becoming more isolated, Fayyad said.

While the sea vessels attempting to run the Gaza blockade has brought greatly needed attention to the beleaguered territory, Fayyad warned that, “If the approach of reopening Gaza focuses on, let’s say, … exclusively maritime traffic, I see a serious risk of that putting us in a situation where we end up having Gaza as a stand-alone entity.”

To most effectively address the reopening of Gaza, Fayyad advocated the 2005 agreement, brokered by the US and EU after Israel unilaterally withdrew from Gaza.

Perry reported:

“The most logical way of going about it is to once again reactivate that,” Fayyad said of an agreement which included understandings on Gaza’s land crossings to Israel, its seaport, airport and the Rafah crossing to Egypt.

It also provided for the passage of goods and people between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. “I understand that not all the elements included in that agreement … can be implemented tomorrow,” Fayyad said.

But land crossings could be opened immediately, he said. “The framework is there, let’s get on with that and approach it this way,” he said.

Restoring the deal would result in the Palestinian Authority managing the Gaza crossings. “That’s what actually existed before and that’s what that framework that I referred to provides for and I see no reason why that can’t also happen,” said Fayyad.

This could be problematic for Hamas which remains hostile to Abbas and has built a Gaza police force numbering some 13,000.

Asked whether Hamas would accept, Fayyad said: “I have no reason to believe otherwise. All Palestinians are unified in wanting to see the siege lifted.” Freedom of movement between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank is essential, Fayyad added. “Safe passage has got to be part of the structure of the state of Palestine in accordance with the two-state solution concept,” he said.

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