The EU will send police experts to the Gaza strip, where they will monitor the Rafah border crossing between the Palestinian territory and Egypt, and train the Palestinian police force.
The mission, which was decided at the 7 November 2005 External Affairs Council, will start on 1 January 2006. It will consist of 30 to 50 police officers who will monitor Palestinian surveillance of the Gaza strip’s border with Egypt. In the past, this border has been used by terrorists to smuggle arms into the Gaza strip and on into Israel. Presently, the Rafah border crossing is closed for security reasons, but it will be reopened by the time the EU police officers start monitoring. In addition, the officers will advise and train their Palestinian counterparts on such matters as the management, recruitment and financing of the police force. They will not patrol the streets of Gaza.
Javier Solana, the high representative for the EU’s foreign policy, said this will be “the most important internal security mission in the Middle East” the EU has taken part in so far. Mr. Solana said the EU “will take responsibility in Rafah as a third party”. Foreign Affairs Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner called the EU mission “an important step for re-establishing trust between Israel and the Palestinians”. Mrs. Ferrero-Waldner travels to the Middle East on 9 – 11 November 2005. She will meet, among others, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestininan President Mahmoud Abbas.
EU official documents
- UK Presidency:Conclusions - 2687th Council Meeting General Affairs and External Relations(7 November 2005)
- Commission:Communication "EU-Palestinian cooperation beyond disengagement - towards a two-state solution"(5 October 2005) [FR] [FR] [DE]
- DG External Relations:Commissioner Ferrero-Waldner to meet PM Sharon and President Abu Mazen(8 November 2005)
- DG External Relations:Ferrero-Waldner on request for third party presence on Palestinian border(2 October 2005)
- DG External Relations:The EU's relations with West Bank and Gaza Strip
- DG External Relations:The EU & the Middle East Peace Process
- BBC:EU 'to train Palestinian police'(7 November 2005)
- Daily Star:Sharon rules out peace talks with Syria, pullout from Golan Heights(8 November 2005)
- Financial Times:EU backing for Gaza mission(7 November 2005)
- Intesa Trade:EU OKs Police Training Mission For Palestinians(7 November 2005)
- ISN:Palestinian Territories to get EU police mission(8 November 2005)
- Monsters and Critics:E.U. to take on Gaza-Eygpt border monitoring mission(7 November 2005)
- Nouvel Observateur:Mission européenne de soutien de la police palestinienne et de surveillance du point de Rafah(7 November 2005)
- ARD:EU will Grenzverkehr in Rafah beaufsichtigen(7 November 2005)
- Der Standard:EU entsendet Polizeiexperten in palästinensische Gebiete(7 November 2005)