Yaakov Katz, THE JERUSALEM POST Jan. 22, 2006
In unusually harsh remarks, Brig.-Gen. (res.) Bezalel Treiber – a senior
Defense Ministry official and head of the Defense Ministry Crossings
Directorate – lashed out at the Palestinian Authority on Friday, calling PA
officials “liars and people with the wrong set of priorities.”
Following the closure of the Karni crossing last week, the Defense Ministry
announced plans over the weekend to open the Kerem Shalom crossing at the
southern tip of Gaza on Monday to humanitarian and commercial goods. Karni
was shut down last week after the IDF suspected Palestinians were digging
terror tunnels underneath the crossing.
The Palestinians, however, rejected the Kerem Shalom offer, Treiber told The
Jerusalem Post, and told him that Karni was the only crossing they were
willing to use. As to the terror warnings, Treiber said the PA officials had
dismissed them as not being genuine.
“The PA doesn’t want Kerem Shalom,” he said. “They want Karni to transfer
goods and they tried to tell us that we don’t have a security problem
On Friday, Palestinian Authority officials – associates of former PA
minister Muhammad Dahlan – skipped a meeting they had scheduled with Treiber
to coordinate Kerem Shalom’s opening.
“Their lack of readiness to meet with me at Kerem Shalom to prepare the
crossing for the transfer of humanitarian goods and agricultural goods shows
what their real set of priorities is,” Treiber said, adding that the reason
the PA officials skipped the meeting was that they “want to make Israel look
bad whenever the occasion presents itself.”
The IDF and the Palestinians bulldozed the area surrounding the Karni
Crossing last week and though terror tunnels were not found, the army
decided to keep the crossing closed.
As a result, Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz and Defense Ministry Dir.-Gen.
Yaacov Toren decided to undertake the complicated process of enabling Kerem
Shalom – a pedestrian crossing – to transfer humanitarian and commercial
The Palestinians, Treiber said, also refused to cooperate with Israel on the
construction of the new Erez terminal crossing, which is scheduled to be up
and running within six months. In an effort to expedite the inspection
process, Treiber said, he asked the Palestinians to build a pathway within
PA territory and to begin inspecting people there, but they refused to meet
If the Palestinians refused to coordinate in operating the new terminal,
Treiber said, his goal of passing 5,000 workers per hour through the
crossing would not be met and instead it would take the same time it takes
today – four hours.
Who are those who refuse to coordinate with him? “People associated with
Dahlan,” Treiber said. “It is always the same people with the same wrong
priorities and the same lies.”