Tags: Israeli-Palestinian | Clashes | Subside | Amid | Summit | Talk

Israeli-Palestinian Clashes Subside Amid Summit Talk

Sunday, 19 November 2000 12:00 AM

Palestinian sources said Israeli troops shot and killed a 14-year-old boy in the Gaza Strip, Israeli civilians were shot on West Bank roads, and a powerful bomb was found near the Israeli-Egyptian border near the Gaza Strip.

But these incidents were far fewer than the recent average number of daily clashes.

The change follows Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat's order, in a TV interview Friday, to stop shooting at Israelis from fully autonomous Palestinian areas, otherwise known as "A areas."

Official Palestinian announcements were followed by instructions that "shooting at Israeli soldiers from populated or residential areas, even if it is not under Palestinian security control, or from ... Palestinian crowds, is prohibited," sources said.

Israeli officers have complained that Palestinian gunmen fire at soldiers from within the ranks of rioters or from their flanks.

It is the first time since September 29, when the riots began, that Palestinian Authority officials have made such announcements.

Israel's Chief of General Staff Lt. Gen. Shaul Mofaz said he believed the Israeli retaliatory attacks and the high Palestinian casualty toll – more than 200 Palestinians reportedly killed and thousands wounded – "eventually put very heavy pressure on the Palestinian Authority to reduce activity."

However, he added, "The results are still unsatisfactory. There is no cease-fire yet. We should reach a level of activity and pressure on the other side so that it will request a cease-fire, and not us."

Prime Minister Ehud Barak told his Cabinet that the Palestinians have been subjected to military, economic and diplomatic pressure. The new situation, he said, suggests there is a chance for implementing last month's Sharm el-Sheikh understandings and that Israel would be making a mistake if it caused an escalation, "since there is no doubt we would be blamed in such a case for torpedoing a possible relaxation."

In recent days Barak and Foreign Minister Shlomo Ben-Ami indicated readiness to resume peace talks if violence drops "significantly."

Violence, however, has not stopped altogether.

Palestinian medical sources said that Israeli soldiers shot a 14-year-old boy in the chest as dozens of Palestinians threw stones at an Israeli army outpost at the Karni commercial passage east of Gaza City. The boy was dead on arrival at the Shiffa Hospital in the city, they said.

The Israel Defense Forces spokesman said Palestinians had fired at a civilian bus traveling from the secluded settlement of Netsarim to the Karni Crossing and that Israeli soldiers returned fire. They said they were not aware of the boy's death.

The Head of the Southern Command, Maj. Gen.Yom-Tov Samia, said a 20-kilogram (44-pound) bomb had been found some 300 meters (1,000 yards) from the Palestinian airport in Rapha. An Israeli traveling west of Ramallah said that a van slowed down near his car and a gunman fired a Kalachnikov gun, riddling his car. The Israel stepped on the gas and fled.

Israeli security sources expressed concern over Palestinian reports that the authority had promoted a Preventive Security officer who sneaked up to a position near Kfar Darom, killed a soldier and critically injured another. Soldiers then killed the attacker.

A spokesman for the Coordinator of Government Activities in the territories, Shlomo Dror, said the posthumous promotion proved Palestinian double talk. "It shows what their real aims are," he said. (With reporting by Saud Abu Ramadan in Gaza)

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Palestinian sources said Israeli troops shot and killed a 14-year-old boy in the Gaza Strip, Israeli civilians were shot on West Bank roads, and a powerful bomb was found near the Israeli-Egyptian border near the Gaza Strip. But these incidents were far fewer than the...
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Sunday, 19 November 2000 12:00 AM
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