August 24, 2005

Israel, Egypt agree on Gaza border force

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel and Egypt have finalized an
agreement for Cairo to post police along its border with Gaza,
an Israeli official said on Wednesday.

"With the Egyptians a full agreement has been reached,"
Amos Gilad, who helped negotiate the deal, told Army Radio.

Israel completed an evacuation of Jewish settlers from Gaza
and four settlements in the northern West Bank on Tuesday as
part of a plan to "disengage" from conflict with Palestinians.

Israel and Egypt had agreed in principle on August 1 that
Cairo could deploy 750 special border police to replace Israeli
troops trying to prevent arms smuggling to Palestinian

But a final deal had been delayed amid differences over
details on what Egypt's responsibility would be toward Gaza, a
territory Cairo had controlled before Israel captured it in the
1967 Middle East War.

Gilad said both sides had reached a "very detailed
agreement down to the last pistol" for Egyptian forces to
patrol a swathe of territory along the border with Gaza to
prevent weapons smuggling.

The deal would be signed only after the Israeli government
and parliament approved it, he said.

Israeli media reports said Egypt would deploy the police
after Israel withdrew all its troops from Gaza.

Israeli troops should be out of Gaza in late September,
ahead of schedule, army chief Dan Halutz said on Tuesday after
wrapping up early the evacuation of 15,000 settlers and
supporters from the strip and the West Bank.