Daily Israel Report

PA Demands Handover of Israeli Town Near Ashkelon

National Security Council Chairman Giora Eiland told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Monday that the Palestinian Authority is now demanding towns adjacent to Gaza be handed over.
First Publish: 7/4/2005, 12:27 PM / Last Update: 7/4/2005, 2:53 PM

PA security chief Mohammad Dahlan publicly voiced the PA demand that Israel withdraw from the town of Netiv Ha'asara, a small residential community south of Ashkelon, in order to complete the planned withdrawal from Gaza.

Netiv Ha'asara, one of the few communities to relocate from Sinai and maintain its original name, has suffered many Kassam rocket attacks since the beginning of the Oslo War.

The PA position is that Israel must withdraw to the 1949 cease-fire lines and not the lines that existed just before the 1967 Six Day War. This would bring the new PA-controlled area even closer to the coastal city of Ashkelon following an Israeli withdrawal.

Eiland said that Dahlan's demand was "a gimmick" similar to the demands made by Hizbullah following Israel’s withdrawal from Lebanon. Hizbullah has claimed that the correct border between Israel and Lebanon is not the one recognized by the United Nations, but rather the line set in the early 1920s by the British and French, who divided the region into separate zones of influence. Hizbullah claims that a number of Israeli villages along the border actually belong in Lebanon. They use that claim in order to justify continued terrorism against the Jewish State.

Under the Oslo Accords, the PA agreed to the pre-'67 boundaries as defining the area of Gaza.

MK Ilan Shalgi (Shinui), a member of the committee, said, "The demand regarding the border of the Gaza Strip and the location of the Erez roadblock is an oddity and contradicts the Oslo agreements."

MK Uzi Landau (Likud) said in response to the new demands, "The Palestinians understand the weakness of our situation and are taking advantage of it."