Photo: Niv Kalderon
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert
Photo: Niv Kalderon
EU diplomat: Olmert refused European force to oversee ceasefire
In meeting with EU diplomats, Olmert warns of terrorist attack which could endanger ceasefire, European sources commit to strengthening Palestinian presidential guard through fund transfer in cooperation with Israel
According to a senior European diplomat, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said that Israel was not interested in a European force to uphold the ceasefire with Palestinians at a meeting Tuesday with European Union ambassadors in Herzliya.


“We are not interested in establishing a multinational force UNIFIL style to oversee the ceasefire in the Gaza Strip. Besides, if we allow such a force you would curse us. The situation in Gaza is so mixed up and complicated that such a force would not be effective there,” Olmert said.


The diplomatic source also told Israeli diplomatic correspondents Thursday that Olmert warned of the possibility of a severe terrorist attack or Qassam firing which could cause much harm and may bring an end to the Israeli-Palestinian ceasefire.


The diplomat also said that the European Union stood behind the three Quartet conditions which included recognizing Israel, renouncing terror, and acknowledging past agreements between Israel and Palestinians.


He explained, “None of the European ambassadors present at the meeting with Olmert asked for flexibility of those conditions. As I understand it, the issue is now in the hands of Abu Mazen (Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas) if he establishes this government, who would serve in it and what it would do.”


‘USD 80 million were transferred to Palestinians’

The issue of the Rafah Crossing, which has been closed since the kidnapping of Gilad Shalit, also came up in the meeting with the senior western diplomat. According to him and a group of his aides, the past year saw the transfer of about USD 80 million through the Rafah Crossing for the Palestinian Authority.


Diplomatic sources also pointed out that weapon smuggling did not occur through the crossing. They also said that there were only a small number of cases in which people attempted the use of forged documents.


They made it clear that there was a problem with the definition of unwanted people using the crossing both by Israel and by Palestinians, since at certain points in time Israel completely opposed the passage of Hamas leaders, while both Palestinian Foreign Minister Mahmoud al-Zahar and Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh used the crossing following the ceasefire.


The European diplomats reported their willingness to strengthen the Palestinian presidential guard by transferring means and funds. “It depends on the process of establishing a unity government and on Israel’s approval to the transfer of the funds,” a senior diplomat said.


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