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President Mubarak sends a strong message of support to the Palestinian people,
"We swear to stay the course with you till liberating all Palestinian lands in the West Bank like Gaza."
Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Gaza City:

Palestinian factions' leaders demanded a complete Israeli withdrawal and refused any Israeli presence at border crossings. This statement came during a meeting between all Palestinian political forces and Egyptian special envoy, Omar Suleiman, yesterday, Aug. 30th in Gaza City.

Mr. Suleiman came to Gaza recently to discuss the Israeli withdrawal and other important issues like Palestinian elections, political detainees in Israeli jails and border crossings. The Egyptian special envoy of President Mubarak held a long meeting with a big delegation of Hamas leaders in Gaza City. At a press conference after the meeting, Dr. Zahar, a Hamas top leader, commented that he appreciated the Egyptian brothers' role and their efforts at this crucial historical time, as reported by media sources.

In behalf of Egyptian president, the special envoy, Suleiman delivered in Gaza a key note speech at the Palestinian Legislation Council (Parliament). In it , President Mubarak told the Palestinian people, " We ( Egyptians) swear to stay the course with you till liberating all Palestinian lands in the West Bank as Gaza," according to a front page headline, Aug.31st., in Palestine's daily paper , Al Quds.

Israeli military army is continuing demolishing settlement houses in the Gaza Strip. It has been reported that by mid September, the process of demolishing settlement houses and military withdrawal will be completed. The situation inside Gaza Strip remains calm. However, Israel is enforcing the separation of Gaza Strip into two halves by preventing people from crossing the big checkpoint of Abu Houly near the second biggest town of Khan Younis, south of Gaza Strip. In addition, Israel continues to impose travel restrictions to cross to Egypt at Rafah border crossings for Palestinian males who are under 35 years old.

Palestinian opposition militant groups have warned of any Israeli control at border crossings. The issue of free border crossing has been of a paramount importance for the people of the Gaza Strip where they dream of traveling freely without any Israeli control, presence or abuse. Palestinians consider Israeli presence at border crossing as a blatant form of occupation. One top PNA official announced this morning during a press conference in Gaza, "We categorically refuse any Israeli presence at the border crossings. Rafah border must be controlled by Palestinian and Egyptians alone."

On the West Bank issue, media sources reported of a meeting between the Israeli politician, Barak, and King Abdullah of Jordan in Amman on Tuesday, Aug 30th. During the meeting, King Abdullah has told Barak that achieving a real peace between Palestinians and Israeli requires continuous withdrawal from the West Bank.

Local Palestinian media has been critical of US attitude towards the issue of settlements in West Bank. Under the title, "America and the financing of withdrawal from Gaza," a prominent Palestinian writer said in Al-Quds paper, Aug. 31st, "America is choosing the path of hypocrisy when it comes to the way America gives Israel financial support which lacks transparency and feeds in doubts and suspicions. Sharon is using such funds of the past and the present to speed up the building of settlements in the West Bank after the withdrawal from Gaza."

Reported by B. Samed
August, 31st., 2005


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