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Palestinians upset Israel is to press on with security fence (HA´ARETZ NEWS) By News Agencies RAMALLAH, West Bank 07/29/03 23:17 (GMT+3) Source: http://www.haaretzdaily.com/hasen/spages/323514.html
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RAMALLAH, West Bank - Palestinians expressed disappointment on Tuesday after Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said Israel would carry on building a security fence along its boundary with the West Bank.
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Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat, who spoke to reporters before Bush and Sharon completed their talks in Washington, said the fence was a new "Berlin Wall" being built to divide Palestinian areas into ghettos in the West Bank.
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Sharon told reporters after meeting with U.S. President George W. Bush in Washington that "the security fence will continue to be built".
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Palestinian Information Minister Nabil Amr responded that Sharon´s position was "disappointing".
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Amr told Reuters Sharon´s "insistence to continue building the wall...will complicate matters and dampen the positive atmosphere," that followed affirmation of the U.S.-backed "road map", a plan that envisages a Palestinian state by 2005.
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Palestinians say the fence, which cuts deep into the West Bank, is a land grab that could deprive them of territory they want as part of the planned state to be set up alongside Israel.
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Israel says it needs the fence to keep suicide bombers from entering its cities, where hundreds of Israelis have been killed in attacks during a 34-month Palestinian uprising for statehood.
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Arafat also said Israel was not sufficiently meeting the demands of the road map. "What has been implemented so far is meager," he said.
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At the Tuesday White House news conference after talks with Sharon, Bush demanded that the Palestinians take concrete steps to dismantle terrorist organizations, singling out the violent Hamas.
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Bush was adamant, repeating the road map language that calls for dismantling the violent groups.
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In Gaza, Hamas leader Abdel Aziz Rantisi dismissed Bush´s remarks.
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"The Bush statement reflects the total bias of the United States in favor of the Zionist enemy," Rantisi told The Associated Press, "and it reflects also the failure of Prime Minister Abbas´ visit to Washington."
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Palestinian parliamentarian Hanan Ashrawi said Bush should have done more to help secure the future of moderate Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas, who is under domestic pressure to produce more results from the peace plan.
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"They think lip service will help Abbas, it won´t. What will help are concrete steps," Ashrawi said. (© Copyright 2003 Haaretz. 07/29/03)
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