Israel, Palestinians stall on pullout plan

Cyberm4n

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Israel, Palestinians stall on pullout plan

Two Palestinians wearing tee-shirts portraying South American revolutionary Ernesto 'Che' Guevara walk near a barbed-wire fence set up to separate Jerusalem from the West Bank. Photo: Enric Marti/AP



Reuters News Agency


Jerusalem — An Israeli-Palestinian arrangement to ease Israel's military clampdown on Palestinian areas stalled on Saturday with violence in the Gaza Strip and the failure of joint security talks on a new Israeli pullout.

Israel pulled troops out of the West Bank city of Bethlehem early this week under a security deal which also called for lifting restrictions on Palestinian travel in Gaza in return for Palestinian security forces curbing violence in those areas.

But no such measures were seen in Gaza and a new round of talks failed to produce agreement on an Israeli withdrawal from Hebron, one of six West Bank cities that remain under a military reoccupation launched after suicide bombings in Israel in June.

"Israel has frozen the agreement," Nabil Abu Rdainah, a senior adviser to Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, told Reuters on Saturday. "The Israeli side has no intention to withdraw from the West Bank and Gaza. Therefore there won't be any progress."

The so-called "Gaza-Bethlehem First" plan has been viewed as a trial case for a wider ceasefire to end 22 months of bloodshed since a Palestinian uprising against Israeli occupation began in September 2000 after peace talks froze.

A senior diplomatic source in Jerusalem said a rash of shootings and an attempted attack on a Jewish settlement in Gaza had halted further progress in easing military blockades there.

"The Palestinians didn't do their part. It's all one package and the next step depends on Gaza," the source said.

The source was referring to an attempt by two Palestinian gunmen to infiltrate the Kfar Darom settlement on Friday. They were shot dead by Israeli troops on guard in the area.

On Saturday, Israeli troops demolished three Palestinian houses west of Kfar Darom near the town of Deir al-Balah, witnesses and security officials said. An Israeli military source said the houses had been long abandoned due to frequent gunbattles in the area, but were razed because they provided cover for gunmen and a lookout for militants planning infiltrations into the nearby settlement.

Israeli and Palestinian security commanders held talks on Friday to lift restrictions in other West Bank areas, including Hebron, but the meeting broke off without agreement.

"The Israeli side said that at this stage it would not make any further security-related changes. These will depend on extended Palestinian action against terror," an army statement said, adding dialogue would resume soon.

But the diplomatic source said a pullout from Hebron may be delayed by at least one month due to warnings that Jewish pilgrims to the city revered as the burial place of Abraham may be targeted during a season of Jewish holidays in September.

Al-aqsa Martyrs Brigades, a radical splinter group linked to Mr. Arafat's Fatah movement, claimed responsibility for the attempted Gaza raid, a sign that an appeal by the Palestinian Authority for militant groups to exercise restraint had gone unheeded.

Palestinian Interior Minister Abdel Razzak al-Yahya held talks on Thursday night with 13 Palestinian factions, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad, to obtain backing for the "Gaza-Bethlehem First" plan on achieving a localised calm.

Hamas and Islamic Jihad, both sworn to Israel's destruction, rejected the plan, vowing to continue attacks against Israelis.

In Paris, an international task force including members of the "quartet" of Middle East peace brokers raised concern about "the deteriorating Palestinian humanitarian situation" due to prolonged Israeli military closures and curfews.

At least 1,509 Palestinians and 589 Israelis have been killed since the start of the Palestinian revolt.
 

Cyberm4n

Electoral Member
Jun 6, 2002
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I think this is pretty typical of the region. As israel agrees to ease it's grip and terror upon palestine, they use certain incidents to go back on their word. Very immoral and wrong on both sides. When can the world just get along?