PM to attend Tuesday summit with Mubarak, Abbas, Abdullah (HA´ARETZ NEWS) By Aluf Benn and Amos Harel, Haaretz Correpondents, and agencies 02/02/05 14:43 (GMT+2)
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Prime Minister Ariel Sharon will meet Tuesday with Egyptian President
Hosni Mubarak and Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas in a
summit to be held in Egypt´s Red Sea resort of Sharm a-Sheikh.
Senior Palestinian officials were also quoted by Reuters as
that Jordan´s King Abdullah II is also expected to participate in the
The summit, to discuss further progress in budding
Palestinian cooperation, came at Mubarak´s initiative. It was
announced by Egyptian security chief Omar Suleiman after his
Wednesday meeting in Jerusalem with Sharon, during which the prime
minister accepted the invitation.
According to Suleiman, Mubarak
initiated the summit proposal
following progress in security discussions between Israel and the
Sharon and Abbas were to have met on Tuesday in
PA said to have destroyed arms tunnel
further sign of an apparent shift in Palestinian Authority
policy, Palestinian security forces destroyed a weapons smuggling
tunnel Wednesday along the Gaza-Egypt border, security officials
The forces destroyed the tunnel by filling it with water
the officials said on condition of anonymity.
The report came
hours after Amos Gilad, the Defense Ministry´s policy
chief for diplomatic issues, said Israel may agree to a Palestinian
request to refrain from attacking wanted men who lay down their arms
and pledge to halt militant operations.
But the Jewish state
will keep its "finger on the pulse" to monitor
Palestinian compliance with the emerging agreement, Gilad told Army
Israel has long demanded that the Palestinian security
tunnels, often used by militants to smuggle weapons from Egypt into
the Gaza Strip. Militants have also killed several IDF soldiers by
digging tunnels under military installations and packing them with
Israel and the Palestinians have agreed to set up a
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
The Shin Bet, which has frozen its hunt for wanted men, is
recommending not to include Palestinians "with blood on their hands"
in the possible halt in military operations.
Shaul Mofaz and Mohammed Dahlan, acting on behalf of
Abbas, agreed on establishing the joint committee at their meeting in
Herzliya Monday night. Cabinet ministers are set to approve the
formation of the committee later this week, Gilad said.
committee will approve understandings with wanted Palestinian
militants, who will be forced to hand in their weapons and sign a
written agreement pledging not to carry out attacks against Israelis
and Israeli targets, Gilad confirmed.
In exchange, Israel will
refrain from hunting down the fugitives.
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
According to the emerging arrangements, in both Gaza and
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.
Shin Bet to take tough
Despite recognizing that things have changed and goodwill
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
If there is a deterioration in the security situation and
are violated, Israel will feel free to resume the hunt for the wanted
The ministerial committee will also discuss the handover of
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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