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Palestinian Factions Commit to Truce in ‘Positive’ Talks with PM Abbas - Hamas, Jihad Document Israeli Violations of Hudna (Palestine Media Center- (PMC) 08/06/03) Source: http://www.palestine-pmc.com/details.asp?cat=1&id=969
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Palestinian anti-Israeli occupation groups confirmed Tuesday their commitment to the truce the Palestinian leadership declared on June 29 in talks with Prime Minister Mahmud Abbas in Gaza, which both sides described as “positive,” as the Palestine National Authority (PNA) called for US involvement to avert “the development of a major crisis” after Israel rejected a Palestinian offer for a “permanent truce” last week.
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PM Abbass held separate meetings with leaders from Fatah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad on Monday and Tuesday in the West Bank and Gaza.
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While confirming to Abbas their continued commitment to the Hudna (truce), the groups have accused the Israelis of “violating” the ceasefire by failing to release all Palestinian prisoners, although Israel has refused to acknowledge the truce.
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"We feel they are not committed to implementing the ceasefire conditions,” said Hamas leader Ismael Haniya after talks with Abbas.
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"We handed Mr Abbas a complete report on the Zionist (Israeli) violations of the truce and told him that we in contrast are observing it fully,” Haniyeh told journalists.
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Israel in July registered a total of 854 violations of the truce, said a report released in Gaza Tuesday.
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According to the report by the Palestinian Information Center in Gaza city, the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) set up more than 46 military roadblocks in July, carried out some 67 violations against Palestinians´ freedom of movement, 47 arrests and 21 razing of Palestinian-owned houses and lands.
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Seven Palestinians were shot dead by the Israeli army in the month, with one of them killed during a premeditated assassination operation and two others killed after being assaulted by illegal Jewish settlers in occupied Palestinian Territory, said the report.
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The number of Palestinians injured by the Israeli army in July reached 306, while more than 332 Palestinians were arrested, the report said.
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Eight governmental or public institutions were partially or completely damaged and one mosque and one church were also partially destroyed, the report added.
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In July, 3,510 dunums (3.3 million square meters) of Palestinian agricultural land were razed, 10,057 fruitful trees uprooted and 10 green houses destroyed, the report said.
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Israel on its part announced Palestinian violations of the truce.
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A senior Israeli security official said Tuesday that there have been 178 attacks since June 29, including 118 gunfire incidents. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said many of the recent attacks carried out by Al Aqsa anti-occupation activists were funded and directed by Iran.
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However after the talks with Abbas, spokesmen of the Hamas and Jihad demanded the release of all Palestinian detainees and said they did not discuss extending their truce because of Israeli violations.
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Islamic Jihad spokesman Nafez Azzam backed Abbas decision to call off his meeting with the Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. "There is no reason to have meetings with the Israelis while they are continuing their aggression against our people,” he said.
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Abbas cancelled a meeting with Sharon, which was scheduled for Wednesday. The Palestinian leadership and government on Monday said that Israel was not “serious” in implementing its commitments stipulated in the US-sponsored “roadmap” peace plan, which was drafted and adopted by the European Union, the United States, the United Nations and Russia.
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However Azzam said the Islamic Jihad movement held “positive” talks with PM Abbas.
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"Our discussions with Abu Mazen (Abbas) were positive,” Nafiz Azzam said after the meeting.
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"He spoke to us about Israeli aggressions and informed us about the results of his talks in Washington and the Arab world and we agreed with him that the liberation of Palestinian prisoners announced by Israel is insufficient.”
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He added that he had impressed upon the Palestinian premier that "Islamic Jihad is rigorously respecting the truce.”
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In a separate meeting between Abbas and Fatah leaders earlier, the Palestinian ruling party demanded protection for all Palestinians wanted by Israel and rejected any idea of them being arrested.
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"Fatah rejects any move to arrest (the wanted men) or to transfer them to any place, such as Jericho or other areas. We have implemented the truce but we need protection for our wanted people,” said Samir al-Masharawi, a senior member in Fatah movement.
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Speaking to journalists after the meeting, al-Masharawi said Abbas had briefed the movement’s leadership about his talks with US President George W. Bush and other senior US leaders in Washington two weeks ago.
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In turn, Fatah members highlighted the difficulties posed by Israel´s siege and closure in the West Bank, the siege the IOF impose on President Yasser Arafat’s headquarters in the West Bank city of Ramallah and the refusal to release all the Palestinian prisoners being held in Israeli jails.
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"These obstacles will destroy any chance of progess,” al-Masharawi told Abbas.
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Palestinian foreign minister Nabil Shaath, who attended the talks, said one aim of the meeting was to negotiate an extension of the truce declared at the end of June by a number of key Palestinian factions.
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"This meeting was aimed at convincing Fatah and other factions, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad, to continue the truce,” he said.
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Shaath last week met with his Israeli counterpart in Jerusalem and said that Shalom rejected a Palestinian offer for a “permanent truce.”
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He also mentioned Israel’s continued construction of a vast security barrier around the West Bank, an explosive issue, which has been roundly condemned by the Palestinians as damaging to progress on the Mideast peace “roadmap.”
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"Despite our implementation of the roadmap, Israel is continuing to build the wall,” he said, but stressed the Palestinian leadership was doing everything to change the situation. "We would like Israel to implement its part of the roadmap,” he said.
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Abbas is facing growing opposition from Palestinians over his failure to secure more concessions from the Israelis, especially over the issue of around 8,000 detainees in Israeli jails.
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Palestinian legislator and former chief negotiator Saeb Erekat, a leading spokesman for the PNA, called for US involvement to avert "the development of a major crisis.”
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"I believe that the only way to defuse this crisis is with the intervention of the American administration to ensure the implementation of the first phase of the road map,” he said.
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US envoy John Wolf has been in the region since Friday, meeting with Israeli and Palestinians security officials.
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A US government official said that Assistant Secretary of State William Burns will be arriving next week. But the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said no other high-level visits were planned even though the peace plan was encountering "very rough going.”
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Erekat reiterated a Palestinian demand for the deployment of monitors to guarantee and verify progress in the peace plan according to a fixed timetable, to end violence and establish a Palestinian state on the West Bank and Gaza Strip by 2005, in compliance with the “roadmap” and Bush’s vision of a two-state solution for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
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Both sides have turned to Washington to play a pivotal role in negotiating peace. Abbas and Sharon held separate summits with President Bush in late July, each seeking support for their positions. Sharon and Abbas last met on July 20. (PMC © 08/06/03)
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