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PA minister says Palestinians jailed in Israel could rebel (HA´ARETZ NEWS) By Haaretz Service and Agencies RAMALLAH, West Bank 07/30/03 17:48 (GMT+3) Source: http://www.haaretzdaily.com/hasen/spages/323383.html
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RAMALLAH, West Bank - Palestinian prisoners could stage a rebellion in Israeli jails if Israel does not release them as part of peace moves, a Palestinian cabinet minister said on Wednesday.
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Prisoners Affairs Minister Hisham Abdel-Razek also said ordinary Palestinians could revolt if Israel does not free thousands of prisoners, a gesture which Palestinians consider vital to pushing ahead with peace moves.
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"An explosion inside Israeli jails will be imminent if Israel adheres to its unilateral decision on releasing prisoners based on unfair and racist criteria and if Israel does not respond to Palestinian demands on prisoners," he said.
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He told a news conference in the West Bank city of Ramallah this could have a "very negative impact" on peace efforts. He also said prisoners would soon start a hunger strike.
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The minister said Palestinians were suffering inhumane conditions in jails, especially women and children.
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Abbas: West Bank security fence is ´racist´ A fence separating Israel from the West Bank is "racist" and a symbol of the lack of coexistence between Israel and the Palestinians, the Palestinian prime minister said Wednesday.
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Palestinian prime minister Mahmoud Abbas told Jordan´s King Abdullah II Wednesday that the fence "has little value from a security point of view and the Palestinians reject it because it is being built on their lands," Jordan´s official Petra news agency said.
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"The fence is racist," Abbas said. "It represents a title for no coexistence" between Israel and the Palestinians.
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Petra said Abbas briefed Abdullah on his White House talks with U.S. President George W. Bush last Friday, four days before Bush met with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.
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Petra quoted Abbas as saying he "felt there was big understanding" to the issues he discussed with Bush and other administration officials, especially Palestinian prisoners, Jewish settlements and the security fence. He did not elaborate.
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Abdullah vowed that Jordan, a longtime U.S. ally, would "continue its contacts with administration officials to bolster Abbas´ efforts," Petra said. Jordanian officials said Abdullah was expected to meet with Bush in the next few weeks, but that no date has yet been set for the meeting.
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The king urged Israel to cease settlement construction and free more Palestinian prisoners in line with its commitment under the road map, a U.S.-backed peace plan which calls for an end to violence and the creation of a Palestinian state by 2005.
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Following separate talks later with Jordanian Prime Minister Ali Abul-Ragheb, Abbas told reporters he was awaiting Sharon´s return from the United States "to see what practical steps he´d undertake" to implement the road map.
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"We honored our commitment under the road map," Abbas added.
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Israel voices satifaction, PA ire over talks Israeli officials voiced satisfaction - and Palestinians disappointment - with Sharon´s Tuesday White House talks with Bush, who spoke of the West Bank security fence as a "problem" but refrained from meeting Palestinian demands to press for an immediate halt to construction.
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"We did not discuss the route of the fence," Sharon told a news conference following the talks, Bush standing at his side. "But I will certainly weigh paths such that the matter will cause the least burden to the Palestinians."
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Sharon told Bush that another dozen West Bank outposts would be dismantled, in addition to 22 he said had already been removed, but that construction work on the fence would continue.
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"This was a very successful meeting," Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Wednesday. "There were no unforeseen disputes," Olmert told Israel Radio, adding that the Israeli and American difference of opinion over the security fence turned out to be narrower than previously believed.
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"The issue of the fence was certainly not at the center of the talks," said Israeli Ambassador to Washington Danny Ayalon, who took part in the discussions.
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Referring to the cordial atmosphere and broad smiles during the open-air news conference that followed the meeting, Ayalon told Army Radio Wednesday that "I can say of the fine and friendly atmosphere that was demonstrated outside, that the atmosphere inside was at least as good, perhaps even better."
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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. Palestinian Information Minister Nabil Amr, speaking after the Bush-Sharon meeting, termed "disappointing" Sharon´s declaration that fence construction would continue.
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Hamas leader Abdel Aziz Rantisi was quoted by Israel Radio as saying that continued construction of the fence could endanger the hudna, or temporary truce on terror arttacks against Israelis.
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Sharon vows to remove more outposts Sharon also told Bush that 22 "unauthorized" settler outposts have been removed so far and another dozen will go, a senior source in Sharon´s Washington entourage said last night.
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As for new outposts established after the 22 were taken down, Sharon said they would also go. Briefing Israeli reporters after the White House meeting, the senior source said of Sharon´s talks with Bush and other senior officials: "There can be disagreements among friends."
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On Palestinian prisoner releases, Sharon told Bush he would convene the special ministerial committee on prisoners next week to see whether more prisoners, in addition to the estimated 600 already decided on - could be freed, the source said. (© Copyright 2003 Haaretz. 07/30/03)
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