The donor states to the Palestinian Authority, which held a conference last week in Brussels, condemned in its concluding statement uncoordinated aid flotillas to Gaza. The conference called on all parties to use land terminals to the Strip and avoid provocations. The statement is signed by the chairman of the conference, Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Store.
A major force behind the clause was intense lobbying from the Israeli delegation to the conference, comprised of the coordinator of government activities in the territories, Maj. Gen. Eitan Dangot, and Foreign Ministry diplomats. The government and the defense establishment are both concerned about the large aid flotilla that leftist and Muslim organizations plan for late May, marking a year since the Israel Defense Forces raid on the Turkish ship the Mavi Marmara, which ended in the death of nine activists.
The concluding statement endorsed the opinion of the United Nations special coordinator on the peace process in the Middle East, Robert Serry, the opinion of the World Bank and of the International Monetary Fund, all of which praised the effective operation of the Palestinian Authority in various fields and determined that the authority was above the bar of a functioning state in these areas. The donor states voiced a commitment to the vision of establishing an independent, sovereign and democratic Palestinian state, to exist peacefully and securely alongside Israel.
The statement emphasized that this goal should be obtained by negotiations to end the conflict, in line with the Bush administration road map from 2002, without mentioning the possibility of a PA unilateral declaration of independence.
The conference statement praised Israel for easing the process of allowing goods into Gaza, but said more steps needed to be taken before the economic situation in the Strip improves. It also voiced deep concern over the recent escalation in the south.
A senior defense official told Haaretz he was pleased with the statement, saying that it was important for Israel to hear across the board opposition to provocative flotillas to Gaza, praise for Israel's financial initiatives and emphasis on avoiding hurting civilians during conflict.
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