U.S. deadlines too tight – Israel

Israel said it would not be able to meet some U.S. deadlines aimed at easing conditions in Palestinian areas and improving Israeli security. Most troubling, according to a report in Friday’s Ha’aretz, is a July 1 deadline for bus convoys between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. It would be hard to commit to such a project before Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas exerts control of security in the Palestinian areas, officials in Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s office told Ha’aretz. Mid-May deadlines to ease roadblock conditions in the West Bank were likelier, they said. Abbas’ deadline to stop rocket fire from Gaza into southern Israel is June 21, a date Ghassan Khatib, a former P.A. Cabinet minister close to Abbas, said was “possible, but difficult.” Rice is due to arrive in the region May 15 to review the deadlines.

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