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Mofaz, Dahlan to discuss PA security control in West Bank (JERUSALEM POST) By MARGOT DUDKEVITCH AND JPOST STAFF 01/28/05)Source: http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=JPost/JPArticle/ShowFull&cid=1106882871151 JERUSALEM POST JERUSALEM POST Articles-Index-TopPublishers-Index-Top
In another step toward a truce with the Palestinians, Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz is slated to meet with former PA security minister and senior Fatah leader Muhammad Dahlan on Saturday evening to discuss the Palestinian Authority´s request for security control over certain West Bank towns.

The defense establishment has already expressed its inclination to consent to such applications, yet has stressed that the process would be gradual and would depend of the maintenance of quiet in the areas, Army Radio reported.

In a major policy reversal after more than four years of fighting, IDF Chief of General Staff Moshe Ya´alon ordered the army on Friday to reduce offensive operations in the Gaza Strip to a minimum in order to enable PA forces to carry out their mission.

According to an Israel Radio report, the IDF will halt all offensive missions in areas where Palestinian policemen have deployed to prevent the launchings of Kassam rockets and mortar shells at southern Israel and Gaza settlements

In addition, in accordance with security assessments and subordinate to Palestinian security deployment to stop terror attacks at crossings, the IDF will make arrangements to reopen Erez, Karni and Rafah crossings next week for the benefit of the residents of the Gaza Strip.

During the day Friday, Israel opened the Karni crossing in the northern Gaza Strip for several hours on Friday morning, during which merchandise was exported from the Gaza Strip.

The site has been closed in the past two weeks, ever since the attack at the crossing, which claimed the lives of six Israelis.

The decision was reached following a security evaluation and as an Israeli gesture towards the Palestinians.

Furthermore, the Chief of Staff has ordered that IDF targeting of terrorists in the West Bank will only take place if there is an immediate threat by active terrorist cells, and only with his explicit authorization.

In accordance with security assessments, the IDF will also make arrangements to ease movement on the roads in the West Bank.

In response, senior PA official Mohammad Dahlan said it was a positive step that could increase the chances of reaching a ´hudna´ (cease-fire).

Also on Friday, Vice Premier Shimon Peres and Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom met separately with Palestinian Finance Minster Salam Fayyad at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Army Radio reported.

In the meetings, the senior officials discussed promoting joint economic ventures and mobilizing the international business community to invest in the territories.

In another positive development, Israel on Thursday night released a Palestinian detainee who was arrested on Monday by security forces, Israel Radio reported on Friday.

The man, Jihad Masimi from Nablus, is a senior operative of the Fatah´s al-Aqsa Brigades. In the past, he served as the commander of the Palestinian police in the West Bank city.

The decision to release him was reached following a request by the Palestinian Authority.

Earlier, four mortars were fired at a Gush Katif settlement. An additional mortar was fired towards another settlement.

Furthermore, shots were exchanged between IDF forces and Palestinians near Neve Dekalim.

In both incidents, no injuries or damage were reported. (© 1995-2005, The Jerusalem Post 01/28/05)

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