Five-Hour Israeli-PA Security Meeting (INN-ISRAEL NATIONAL NEWS) 01/30/05)
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Israel agrees in principle to withdraw its forces from all seven PA-
controlled cities. Security control of Ramallah, Tul Karem, Kalkilye
and Jericho may be handed over to the PA in the coming days.
This was the conclusion of a five-hour meeting last night between
Defense Minister Sha´ul Mofaz and Muhammad Dahlan and other
Palestinian Authority security officials.
As the media speak of "peace suddenly breaking out," the issues on
the table for the coming weeks include a significant reduction of IDF
activity throughout Judea, Samaria and Gaza, open crossing points,
the release of terrorist prisoners, and a decrease in Israel´s arrest
In addition, new U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice is on her
way to the region, Prime Minister Sharon and Abu Mazen are scheduled
to meet soon, and talk of a ceasefire is common even among the most
extreme terrorist groups - though not without pre-conditions.
Optimism is the order of the day in both government and media
circles, despite a mortar shell that hit a home in Netzer Hazani
yesterday, and a Kassam rocket that was fired last night at the
western Negev. Palestinian terrorists also shot several rockets on
Friday, including an anti-tank missile Friday night at nearby N´vei
Dekalim, causing damage but no injuries.
The electoral victories by the extreme terrorist group Hamas in local
elections in Kassam-capital Beit Hanoun and elsewhere also somewhat
mar the picture.
Arutz-7´s Arab-affairs correspondent Haggai Huberman said
today, "There is no doubt that Abu Mazen has surprised everyone by so
quickly taking control and managing to get a ceasefire going without
any real promises by Israel. On the other hand, within a short time,
the terrorist organizations will want to see some results, such as
Israeli withdrawals, release of prisoners and the like - and if
they´re not satisfied, they can easily revert to more terrorism."
The IDF now remains deployed in Gaza only on roads leading to Jewish
communities, and along the Israeli-Egyptian border, known as the
Philadelphi Route. The latter is a very sensitive line under which
terrorists have smuggled tremendous amounts of weapons and explosives
via tunnels. Thousands of PA para-military police are now deployed
throughout the Gaza Strip. Jewish Gaza residents say that the same
terrorists who fire mortar shells and shoot at night are the ones who
patrol during the day.
In Judea and Samaria, Israel´s armed forces have been ordered to keep
a lower profile, withdrawing from checkpoints outside some cities and
initiating offensive activity only in the case of "ticking time
Mofaz and Dahlan agreed to meet again in the coming days, while
Sharon and Abu Mazen are likely to meet before mid-February.
(IsraelNationalNews © 01/30/05)
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