TEL AVIV - Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is scheduled to meet with his seven-minister forum next Sunday to brief them on the Sharm el-Sheikh summit's results.
The forum is set discuss a list of goodwill gestures promised to Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, such as the initial release of 500 security prisoners, the transfer of security control in Jericho and the approval of entry permits for 1000 Palestinians from the Gaza Strip in to Israel.
The Erez Crossing is expected to open within the next few days, perhaps as early as Wednesday. It is the least significant crossing and primarily serves Palestinian journalists and international representatives.
The opening of the Rafah crossing, on the other hand, would
enable passage between the Gaza Strip and Egypt, and the Karni Crossing would enable transfer of goods between Israel and the Strip.
The security establishment has stressed it aims to provide gradual concessions, to allow the Palestinians to prove they can maintain calm and prevent terror over time.
Rice says “it was an important step forward”
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice urged Israel and the Palestinian Authority to take advantage of the opportunity for peace in the Middle East. She added that the summit at Sharm el-Sheikh was indeed “an important step forward.”
“The success of the summit is not guaranteed, but it presents the best opportunity we are likely to see in the next few years,“ she said during her visit to Paris
British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw also said he is cautiously optimistic following the truce declaration at Sharm.
“Unfortunately, there have been more tears than smiles during the years of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” he said.