AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREBlues bury Kings early with four first-period goals In a deal wrested last month under pressure from Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Israel agreed to the reopening of the Rafah crossing, which it closed before quitting Gaza in September. The agreement also called for a bus link between Gaza and the West Bank. That link would have to cross Israeli territory. It also called for a significant increase in cargo traffic by year’s end at Gaza’s main export outlet, the Karni terminal, on the Gaza-Israel frontier. Israel said Friday it was freezing implementation of the agreement until problems with the Rafah terminal, which reopened Nov. 26 under the supervision of European monitors, were resolved. Israel has accused the Palestinians of violating the deal by not providing instant information on people crossing the border from Egypt into Gaza. As a result, up to 15 militants wanted by Israel, including the brother of Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar, were allowed in, Israeli and Palestinian officials said. “This crossing is wide open to terrorists and weapons, and jeopardizes Israel’s security,” Mofaz told Israel Radio. He said he asked U.S. Assistant Secretary of State David Welch during their Friday meeting “to do everything in his power in his meetings with the Palestinians so the issue can be settled next week.” Welch met with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas later Saturday, but they did not comment afterward. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! JERUSALEM – Israel’s defense minister said Saturday that Israel would not impose an economic siege on the impoverished Gaza Strip, but he did not withdraw threats to restrict Palestinian trade if security was not tightened at Gaza’s newly reopened border crossing with Egypt. Israel set a deadline of today for the Palestinians to improve security procedures, according to notes from a meeting Friday between Israeli officials and international mediators, obtained by The Associated Press. “The Palestinians need to take action,” Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz said. At a separate meeting, the United States said the security problems were caused by technical glitches at the Rafah passage between Gaza and Egypt, and not by Palestinian failures.
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