TEL AVIV, Israel, Aug. 9 (UPI) -- Israel warns it will cancel its customs union with the Gaza Strip if the Palestinian Authority and Egypt refuse to open a jointly controlled border crossing.
Israel insists the border terminal between Gaza and Egypt be at Kerem Shalom, near the Israeli border, so that Israeli officials could inspect goods crossing into the area. At the moment the terminal is at Rafah, which will revert to Palestinian rule.
The Palestinian Authority and the international community have been pressing Israel not to exclude the Gaza Strip from a customs agreement. They have suggested having foreign inspectors check imported goods, Chief Palestinian Negotiator Saeb Erakat last week told foreign correspondents in Jerusalem.
Haaretz said Israel wanted to use the issue as a bargaining chip to maintain security supervision in the crossing between Sinai and the Strip after it withdrew from the area.
A Cabinet statement said that if no agreement were reached, the government would act to move the customs envelope to the Erez and Karni crossings.
The Erez and Karni crossings are between the Gaza Strip and Israel. Such a move would make the West Bank part of the customs envelope, but not the Gaza Strip.