Dahlan Calls Israeli Coordination a “Sham”

June 07, 2005

Dahlan Says “Israel’s Coordination Is a Sham” after Israel Refuses to Provide Essential Data

Mohammed Dahlan, Palestinian Authority (“PA”) Minister of Civil Affairs (and PA Minister charged with coordinating Israel’s evacuation), stated today that the Israeli government is refusing to properly coordinate its “disengagement” from the Gaza Strip and the northern West Bank. 

His comments came after a meeting between Palestinian and Israeli technical teams charged with coordinating the Gaza and northern West Bank evacuation. At that meeting, the Israeli government was to hand over necessary data and maps on the settlements affected by the Disengagement Plan.

A seven-page Palestinian request for settlement data and maps was initially submitted to the Israeli National Security Council on 3 May 2005. Although Israel indicated that it would hand over the information requested, it failed to do so without providing any reasons for its refusal. At yesterday’s meeting, the Israeli government failed to hand over any relevant information but instead submitted old data, most of which was already in possession of the Palestinian Authority

“The information provided is useless,” remarked Minister Dahlan. “The information that the Israelis handed us included a 1994 map of the Occupied Gaza Strip – the same map included in the Gaza-Jericho Agreement. Has the Israeli government forgotten that they expanded their settlements in the Gaza Strip since 1994? Do they think we are fools?”

Since 1994, the settler population of the Occupied Gaza Strip has increased from 5,100 illegal settlers to approximately 8,000 illegal settlers; during the same period, the number of illegal settlements also expanding proportionally.

Minister Dahlan added, “Israel asked the Palestinians to coordinate its evacuation with them, and yet is doing its best to undermine that coordination. If Israel wants our help, it is going to have to help us by providing the necessary data to ensure that the evacuation is carried out smoothly.”

The Occupied Gaza Strip, one of the most densely populated areas in the world, is home to approximately 1.3 million Palestinians, of which 80% are refugees who were expelled or fled from what became Israel in 1948. In addition, approximately 8,000 Israeli settlers live illegally in the Occupied Gaza Strip and control approximately 20% of Gaza Strip territory.

The Israeli government has indicated that it will evacuate its settlements in the Occupied Gaza Strip in addition to four isolated settlements in the northern West Bank. However, it will retain control over Gaza’s airspace, sea space, and all of its borders, including Gaza’s border with Egypt.

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