JERUSALEM – Border control of the Gaza Strip now dominates discussions between Israel, Egypt and the Palestinian Authority and, as Israel continues to wind down operations in Gaza, there is little harmony over how people and goods will move in and out of Palestinian territory.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas traveled to Egypt on Wednesday to discuss border concerns with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. Egypt’s security chief, Omar Suleiman, is expected to travel to Gaza and Jerusalem in the next few days for talks.

Border access is seen as crucial to Gaza’s – and the Palestinian Authority’s – hopes for economic recovery. The end of Israeli occupation in Gaza is expected to lead to a possible rejuvenation of the poor swath of territory, where nearly 1.4 million Palestinians live.

Israeli defense officials Wednesday recommended people or goods leaving Gaza could move directly into Egypt through an existing crossing in the city of Rafah, at the southern end of the Palestinian territory.

Israelis are insisting, however, that all goods and people entering Gaza must pass through a tri-country crossing at Kerem Shalom, where Israeli officials could also verify goods and identities.

“That’s not workable,” said Palestinian adviser Saeb Erekat, one of three Palestinian aides who Wednesday attended a breakfast meeting and discussion afterward between Abbas and Mubarak.

“We can work with the idea of a third party monitoring the Rafah crossing to ensure security. But we do not want Israel telling us how to keep people and goods coming in and out of Gaza,” Erekat said.

“People are sick and tired of humiliation in the name of Israeli security,” Erekat said. Erekat said that the Palestinians sought Mubarak’s help in jump-starting negotiations with Israel and that Mubarak understood the Palestinian concern.

As Israeli defense officials focused on border crossings, Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz also confirmed that Israel and Egypt have agreed to have 750 Egyptian troops patrol the Gaza-Egypt border.

“This agreement ultimately gives comprehensive – and I emphasize comprehensive – responsibility to the Egyptians regarding the prevention of weapons smuggling … in tunnels and above ground, into the Gaza Strip,” Mofaz told Army Radio.

Egyptian officials have been helping to beef up Palestinian police and security in relation to the Gaza pullout. Israeli army officials, who estimated 15,000 people moved or were evicted from the Jewish settlements in the past week, generally gave high marks to Palestinian police who helped safeguard the settlers’ withdrawal.

Mofaz said he thought the withdrawal of Jewish settlements in Gaza – including the destruction of houses – would be completed by mid-September.

Soldiers will destroy almost all religious buildings in the 21 settlements, and the transfer of family graves, approved this week, can begin within days. Four other small settlements in the West Bank were also cleared.

The Israeli pullout was marked by a lull in violence, but late Wednesday that quiet was broken. In the West Bank, at least two Palestinians were killed in an exchange of gunfire after Israeli troops entered the Tulkarem refugee camp, residents told The Associated Press. There were unconfirmed reports of five dead.

Earlier, a Palestinian stabbed two young ultra-Orthodox Jews in Jerusalem’s Old City, police told AP. One of the victims later died of his wounds. The assailant escaped.

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