Israel, Palestinians to set up joint panel on wanted men (HA´ARETZ NEWS) By Amos Harel 02/02/05)
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Israel and the Palestinians have agreed to set up a joint committee
to deal with the cases of wanted men after a cease-fire is formally
announced. The committee is to meet for the first time next week.
The Shin Bet, which has frozen its hunt for wanted men, is
recommending not to include Palestinians "with blood on their hands."
Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz and Mohammed Dahlan, acting on behalf of
Palestinian Authority head Mahmoud Abbas, agreed on establishing the
joint committee at their meeting in Herzliya Monday night.
A Shin Bet official will chair the Israeli team, which also will
include a representative from the Israel Defense Forces and the
Justice Ministry. PA security officials will make up the Palestinian
Israel´s participation still requires approval by a special
ministerial-level committee, which is due to meet tomorrow.
According to the emerging arrangements, in both Gaza and the West
Bank, Israel will agree not to harm wanted men who hand in their
weapons to the PA, sign a commitment not to get involved in any more
in terror, remain in their home towns and agree to monitoring by the
PA security apparatus.
Israel will encourage the PA to concentrate the wanted men in cities
like Jericho. In those areas under Israeli control, each wanted man´s
case will be discussed individually.
Despite recognizing that things have changed and goodwill gestures
must be made toward the Palestinians, the Shin Bet will take a tough
line in the committee regarding Palestinians who directly
participated in the murder of Israelis. It is sticking to its
position that no deals are possible with those wanted men. In
addition, the Shin Bet regards the move as a freeze on the hunt for
the wanted men and not a "laundering" of their past sins.
If there is a deterioration in the security situation and agreements
are violated, Israel will feel free to resume the hunt for the wanted
The ministerial committee will also discuss the handover of West Bank
cities. As of now, five cities are under discussion: Ramallah,
Bethlehem, Jericho, Qalqilyah and Tul Karm. Israel wants the transfer
to be gradual - one or two cities at a time - apparently starting
next week. Jericho or Bethlehem will likely be the first city, and
not Ramallah, as the Palestinians have asked.
There also have been discussions of expelled Palestinians. Israel
apparently will allow some terrorist relatives who were expelled from
the West Bank to Gaza to return to their former abode. (© Copyright
2005 Haaretz. 02/02/05)
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