Israel, Palestinians Agree To End Violence : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

This time the cease fire is made at a higher level...Peres and Arafat, not just field commanders.

I guess we shall see if Arafat has control after all the fervor that has built up over the last 2 months. The "Kill Israel" bloodlust is high again through out the region and it hard to feel comfortable. I don't.

JB --------------- Israel, Palestinians Agree To End Violence

By Howard Goller Reuters

JERUSALEM (Nov. 1) - Israel said on Thursday it had agreed with the Palestinians on steps to end their bloodiest clashes in years.

Prime Minister Ehud Barak's office issued a dramatic announcement only hours after his security cabinet had drafted a battle plan to crack down on the violence.

Barak's office said understandings were reached at a two-hour meeting in Gaza between Palestinian President Yasser Arafat and former Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres.

Washington, the main Middle East peace broker, swiftly welcomed the announcement and said it had been informed of the understanding by both sides.

There was no immediate comment from the Palestinian Authority.

A terse Barak statement, issued before dawn, said the sides had agreed to implement a U.S.-brokered cease-fire, forged in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh last month.

''An understanding was reached between Israel and the Palestinian Authority on a series of steps on the basis of the Sharm understanding that are due to lead to the renewal of security cooperation and a halt to the violence and incitement.''

President Clinton welcomed the development, saying in a statement: ''I'm hopeful it will lead to implementation of the steps agreed to by both parties at Sharm el-Sheikh.''


A senior Israeli political source said the two sides reached an understanding to immediately begin carrying out ''mutual programs'' to decrease the violence that has claimed the lives of at least 163 people in five weeks.

''At noon both Arafat and Barak are to personally announce on their respective public radios their announcements about stopping the violence immediately,'' the source said.

The White House National Security Council spokesman P.J. Crowley said: ''We have been informed of this by both parties. It's a welcome development and we'll be looking for full compliance by both sides.''

Ahmed Tibi, an Israeli Arab lawmaker and former adviser to Arafat, stopped short of confirming an agreement, but told Israel's Army Radio: ''The intention is a gradual calming so that in the next two days there will not be a use of weapons.''

Hours earlier Israel's cabinet drew up a battle plan to crack down on the Palestinians after three of its soldiers died in gunfights on Wednesday, the country's heaviest one-day casualty toll of the unrest.

Six Palestinians were also killed in confrontations on Wednesday. Nearly all of the 163 dead have been Palestinians.

In Washington, acting Israeli Foreign Minister Shlomo Ben-Ami met Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and National Security Adviser Sandy Berger. He called the conflict ''a war in many senses'' or ''mini-war.''

While the Israeli security cabinet gave no details of the steps it had planned, staff at local Palestinian television stations in the West Bank city of Hebron were told on Wednesday to evacuate their premises -- an apparent warning that they would come under attack.


One Israeli political source said the security cabinet had decided on a series of ''retaliatory steps'' and said their implementation depended on the outcome of the meeting between Peres and Arafat, who shared the Nobel peace prize in 1994 for their breakthrough peace accords sealed in Oslo.

Peres is regional cooperation minister in Barak's cabinet.

The Israeli death toll was the highest in a single day since Palestinian protests against the continued occupation on the West Bank and Gaza Strip erupted late in September.

Israel sent helicopters and tanks into the battle on Wednesday and Barak, in a statement issued in response to the soldiers' deaths, said: ''The days ahead will be a test.''

The Jewish settlement of Gilo, near Jerusalem, came under fire for the first time in five days from the Palestinian town of Beit Jala, where Israeli return fire slammed into a building. There were no reports of casualties.

Each side in the conflict accuses the other of failing to honor understandings reached at the U.S.-brokered summit in Egypt on October 17 to end the clashes and return to the peace table.

Senior Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said he had put back a visit to the United States by 24 hours to meet Albright and U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan after the Israeli army stopped him from leaving his home in Jericho.

Erekat said he now planned to travel late on Thursday.

''I will discuss with Mr. Annan the need to provide immediate international protection for our people and to promptly set up an international inquiry into the massacres committed against the Palestinians by Israel,'' Erekat told Reuters.

He said he would ask Albright for U.S. intervention to lift what he called Israel's siege of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Reut23:46 11-01-00

-- Jackson Brown (, November 02, 2000

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