EU Offers to Take Charge of Gaza Border Crossings
The European Union (EU) on Friday offered to take charge of Gaza's border crossings and work to prevent illegal arms flows, according to The Associated Press (AP).
The EU is prepared "to play a strong role" in managing the crossings while assuring that Israel's security is guaranteed, said the 28-nation bloc's foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton.
The EU offered to reactivate and extend its monitoring of the Rafiah crossing with Egypt and other border posts, provided there will be a UN Security Council mandate for the mission and a sustainable cease-fire in place, according to AP.
In addition, the EU says Israel must lift its blockade to allow "a fundamental improvement in the living conditions for the Palestinian people in Gaza."
The EU foreign ministers said the bloc is also prepared to prevent arms smuggling and launch a training program for Palestinian Authority police and customs officers to be deployed in Gaza.
"The situation in the Gaza Strip has been unsustainable for many years and a return to the status quo prior to the latest conflict is not an option," they said, according to AP.
The EU has been critical of Israel over its operation in Gaza and has several times called for an immediate ceasefire.
The offer comes amid continued talks between the sides for a long-term ceasefire. The talks are mediated by Egypt which has reportedly offered an 11-point ceasefire plan to the sides.
An Islamic Jihad spokesperson claimed on Friday that a truce deal with Israel will be signed as soon the current five-day ceasefire ends next Monday at midnight.
The statements come after Islamic Jihad second-in-command Ziad Nahala said Friday the war with Israel is "behind us," adding "we have no choice but to reach a truce agreement."
(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)