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Sunday, November 20, 2005
Did Israel agree to "security hiatus" for 2005 harvest in new agreement?

Did Israel agree to "security hiatus" for 2005 harvest in new agreement?
Aaron Lerner Date: 19 November 2005

".The passages will operate continuously. On an urgent basis, Israel will
permit the export of all agricultural products from Gaza during this 2005
harvest season..."
[2. Crossing Points - Agreement on Movement and Access - 15 November 2005
http://usinfo.state.gov/mena/Archive/2005/Nov/15-381874.html ]

That's "continuously" - regardless of what transpires.

That's "export of all agricultural products from Gaza during this 2005
harvest season" regardless of what transpires.

Does this mean that Israel agreed to a "security hiatus" in order to
facilitate the movement of "all" the product - regardless of the capacity of
the current inspection operation?

The agreement recognizes that even when new equipment is operational that
there are limits to the capacity of the inspection systems:

".The new and additional scanner will be installed and fully operational by
December 31. At that time, the number of export trucks per day to be
processed through Karni will reach 150, and 400 by end-2006."
[2. Crossing Points - Agreement on Movement and Access - 15 November 2005]

But Israel agreed in the very next paragraph of the agreement that the flow
of trucks carrying agricultural produce for export is not limited to the
capacity of the system:

".In addition to the number of trucks above, Israel will permit export of
agricultural produce from Gaza and will facilitate its speedy exit and
onward movement so that quality and freshness can be maintained. Israel
will ensure the continued opportunity to export."
[2. Crossing Points - Agreement on Movement and Access - 15 November 2005]

By detaching the obligation to allow all the 2005 harvest to be exported
from either the establishment of an acceptable inspection regime or its
proper implementation, the agreement effectively releases the PA from the
need to act as a serious partner.

To make matters worse, according to the agreement, whatever makeshift
arrangements are implemented to allow for the 2005 harvest to move from Gaza
regardless of security considerations are to be used as a model for the West
Bank:

".Israel also undertakes to put in place similar arrangements as appropriate
that will make West Bank passages fully operational as soon as possible.."
[2. Crossing Points - Agreement on Movement and Access - 15 November 2005]

Shlomo Dror, spokesperson for the Coordinator of Activities in the
Territories, told IMRA today that during the calm years 600 to 650 trucks
passed through Karni a day because Israel was able to ease security
inspections. At this time Karni is not operating 24 hours a day but even if
it did it would not be possible to reach such a volume.

According to Dror, given the equipment available at this time (Palestinian
attacks destroyed some scanning equipment that is now on order) the volume
of trucks crossing Karni could be increased substantially by easing such
security measure as:

- checking containers for double walls on a sampling basis rather than all
containers (terrorists reached Ashdod Port by hiding inside a double walled
container).

- double stacking for scanning in a trade-off of the efficacy of the scan
for the volume that can be scanned in a day.

Dror noted that Israel also wants the Palestinians to take a more active
role in making the Palestinian side of the crossing a "sterile area" so that
terrorists cannot approach the area to attack the Israeli side.

Dror pointed out that the Palestinians have objected to the operation of
security devices that would make the passage of people considerably more
efficient and hassle free. When Israel tried to introduce scanners at Rafah
that do not require people to be subject to physical inspection, the
Palestinians launched a campaign against the equipment, claiming that it was
cancer causing - this despite the fact that the very same equipment is being
used in various airports around the world and that the radiation that the
device emits is a miniscule fraction of the radiation emitted by a cellular
telephone.

Dr. Aaron Lerner, Director IMRA (Independent Media Review & Analysis)
(Mail POB 982 Kfar Sava)
Tel 972-9-7604719/Fax 972-3-7255730
INTERNET ADDRESS: imra@netvision.net.il
Website: http://www.imra.org.il

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