Friday, August 26, 2005


Abbas Urges Militants to Hold Their Fire
Mahmoud Abbas Denounces Israeli Raid That Killed 5 Palestinians, Urges Militants to Hold Fire
Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday denounced a deadly Israeli arrest raid that killed five Palestinians, calling it an intentional provocation aimed at undermining a six-month cease-fire, but he urged militant groups to hold their fire.Militants vowed to renew attacks on Israel, a move that would undercut the good will that resulted from an Israeli pullout from 25 Jewish settlements in Gaza and part of the West Bank.Following Tuesday's completion of the most important stage of the pullout evacuating settlers violence flared in three places.... LINK

Israeli pullout may be prelude to the big battle
While Israel's pullout from 25 settlements in Gaza and the West Bank took little more than a week, lasting peace with Palestinians still appears to be a long way off."Everybody understands that this (withdrawal) is the prelude to the big battle" over claims to land still passionately in dispute, Hebrew University political scientist Reuven Hazan says.
The battle may have already begun. Less than 48 hours after Israeli troops evacuated 15,000 settlers and activists from Gaza and four West Bank settlements — territory Israel is ceding for what could be part of a future Palestinian state — violence erupted in the West Bank and Jerusalem. Israeli troops killed five suspected Palestinian terrorists during a raid in the Tulkarem refugee camp overnight Wednesday. A Palestinian stabbed to death a British ultra-Orthodox Jewish student and injured his American classmate in the first attack in Jerusalem's Old City in three years.
The violence underscores the intractable dispute to come: How will the West Bank be carved up and what will become of Jerusalem, a holy city to both sides?
Even after Israel hands over Gaza some time in October, 230,000 Israelis will remain among 2.4 million Palestinians in the West Bank. They live in more than 220 settlements and unauthorized outposts strategically placed across the West Bank's terraced hills, as well as in three major settlement blocs that Israel says it will never give up. On Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said a Gaza-type withdrawal would not be repeated in the West Bank and peace negotiations would begin only after Palestinians disarm militant groups.Sharon may close a few outposts his government considers illegal, former U.S. ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk says, but he will continue to send Israelis to West Bank settlements despite U.S. warnings to halt construction there. Some of those settlers came from Gaza. LINK


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