GAZA - The Palestinians are making serious, practical plans for the day after the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza.
Over the weekend, Palestinian Authority Minister Mohammed Dahlan announced the PA's intention to turn the isolated Jewish settlement of Netzarim into a service area for the Gaza port. Yasser Arafat had similar plans for the area, but Israel delayed completion of that project.
Dahlan also said that the PA is weighing several options for the rubble of the destroyed houses.
"If we find that there are benefits to using the rubble, we will consider them. If not, we will demand that it be removed from the area," he said.
"Either way, we refuse to bury it in Gaza or in the West Bank, and Israel has already declared its willingness to remove the rubble from the area."
30 years of restrictions
Dahlan also discussed the talks that took place between PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and James Wolfensohn, the Quartet's envoy to the region.
According to Dahlan, the PA asked Wolfensohn to obtain answers from the Israelis to the PA's questions regarding the transfer of Rafah to Palestinian control and the transfer of PA security personnel from the West Bank to Gaza.
"We asked Wolfensohn to make a concerted effort to obtain answers. We want to know this week what the future of Rafah will be, and we insist on an end to the Israeli presence in Gaza," he said.
"We are willing to accept the involvement of a third party that fulfills Israel's security demands, as long as Palestinian civilians have freedom of movement. For 30 years they have suffered from the restrictions placed on them by the Israelis."