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FM: Cease-fire ticking bomb which will blow up in our faces (HA´ARETZ NEWS) By Amos Harel and Arnon Regular, Haaretz Correspondents, Haaretz Service and Agencies 01/27/05 13:58 (GMT+2)Source: http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/532311.html HA'ARETZ} NEWS SERVICE HA'ARETZ} NEWS SERVICE Articles-Index-TopPublishers-Index-Top
Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom said Thursday that the cease-fire forged by Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbbas was a "ticking bomb which will blow up in our faces."

Shalom made the comments hours after an interview with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was published in which Sharon said he is "very satisfied" with the steps being taken by Abbas to end the violence.

On Wednesday, the Fatah Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades threatened to end the new, tenuous cease-fire, after undercover Border Police troops shot dead a Hamas activist and wounded two members of the Brigades in the West Bank city of Qalqilyah.

The killing came hours after Israeli officials hinted at a change in assassination policy, stating that if quiet obtained on the Palestinian side, Israel would respond with quiet as well.

But Shalom, speaking to Army Radio after talks with newly-confirmed U.S. Secretary of State-designate Condoleezza Rice, said "A cease- fire as such is not a goal."

"Whoever thinks a halt is the right thing, is mistaken. A cease-fire is a ticking bomb which will blow up in our faces," Shalom said.

"Therefore, you cannot take a cease-fire as a long-range goal, while they are are still preserving their infrastructure, the extremist organizations can rebuild them and bring about a situation in which at a time they choose they can carry out one terrorist attack or a series of terror attacks, which will bring down this whole process and send it to hell."

Al Aqsa issues ultimatum

Following the Wednesday raid, the Al-Aqsa Brigades threatened to scrap the de facto truce if the Israeli military did not halt raids against their members within 24 hours.

Witnesses said undercover troops opened fire at a vehicle carrying militants of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, linked to Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas´ Fatah movement. They said that a 14- year-old boy who stood nearby was wounded by the gunfire.

An Israeli military source confirmed the raid and said troops shot a militant who fled in a vehicle to avoid arrest.

"We demand that all killings, liquidations and incursions into Palestinian cities stop within the coming 24 hours," Abu Mohammed, a spokesman for the Brigades, told a news conference in Gaza City.

"If not... we will find ourselves free of any commitment and will then respond to Zionist crimes by striking anywhere and at any time of our choosing," said Abu Mohammed, who was masked and flanked by militants brandishing assault rifles.

"Our blood will not be the only blood shed and funerals will not be held by Palestinians only."

Abu Mohammed emphasized that the Brigades still stood by their commitment to Abbas to maintain restraint.

Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas also expressed concern over the raid Wednesday.

"The Israelis are continuing with these operations," Abbas said. "They know that we are fully committed to calming things down and they have to be responsible. They have to stop these operations so as not to ruin our efforts."

Prior to the Qalqilyah raid, a three-year-old Palestinian girl, Rahma Abu Shamas, was killed Wednesday morning by IDF fire near the Gush Katif settlement bloc in the southern Gaza Strip.

Also on Wednesday morning, Palestinian militants fired two Qassam rockets into southern Israel, causing no damage or casualties.

Earlier in the day, some 20 PA security police took up positions at the Tufah crossing in the southern strip, near a settlement bloc that has been one of the bloodiest flashpoints of the uprising, witnesses said.

Palestinian security sources said the armed police were the first in about three years to deploy at volatile Tufah near the sprawling Khan Yunis refugee camp, a militant bastion. (© Copyright 2005 Haaretz. 01/27/05)

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