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Five-Hour Israeli-PA Security Meeting (INN-ISRAEL NATIONAL NEWS) 01/30/05)Source: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/news.php3?id=76108 INN} ISRAEL NATIONAL NEWS INN} ISRAEL NATIONAL NEWS Articles-Index-TopPublishers-Index-Top
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 of terrorists.

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 bombs."

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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