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Israel and the Palestinian Authority reached an agreement on opening the Gaza Strip border. U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was the chief mediator of the deal announced Tuesday, under which the Rafah terminal on the Gaza-Egypt border will open by the end of the month. Palestinians who use the crossing will be monitored by European Union security experts. Israeli officials will be allowed to watch the action at the terminal and ask monitors to search potential terrorist infiltrators or arms smugglers. Next month, Israel also is to begin allowing Palestinians to travel between Gaza and the West Bank through its territory in secured convoys. Opening Gaza’s borders was deemed a top priority by the Bush administration, which wants to revive the local economy and help the Palestinian Authority restore order.

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