Tags: Killing | Postpones | Arafat-Peres | Talk

Killing Postpones Arafat-Peres Talk

Monday, 24 September 2001 12:00 AM

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon had insisted on 48 hours of quiet before a meeting, but Peres opposed that condition. A meeting between the two men Monday led to an understanding that was not publicized.

Raanan Gissin, the prime minister's media adviser, did not repeat the demand for a 48-hour delay, though he did say: "The prime minister's position on the meeting between Foreign Minister Peres and Arafat is known. The prime minister hasn't changed his position."

Peres said, "We would like there to be a cease fire of at least 48 hours before the meeting," but he noted the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, which opposes the cease-fire, reportedly assumed responsibility for Monday's attack and said one must realize "serious but exceptional instances may happen."

The woman who was killed Monday, Sal'it Sheetrit, a social worker, was traveling with her husband in the Jordan Valley when two gunmen in a passing car opened fire at them, police said. Her husband was hurt. An Israel Radio reporter said 20 bullets struck the car.

The Israelis have taken some security measures in the Jordan Valley since an earlier killing in the area and banned Palestinian traffic in private cars, but an eyewitness said the rule was not enforced.

Sheetrit's father, Meir Guttman, told Israel Radio people should continue using such roads.

"If we stop traveling (there) we would soon find ourselves at the place when my grandfather and grandmother found themselves (during the Holocaust) on the platform of the train station in Frankfurt, two days before they were murdered," he said.

The shooting put the talks in jeopardy. Initials reports said it would reset the 48-hour clock.

But officials on both sides sought to dispel those reports.

Raanan Cohen, minister without portfolio, told United Press International, "I have no doubt there will be a meeting this week."

Arafat said Monday he would meet with Peres right after he returns from a two-day official visit to Syria starting Tuesday.

"I had agreed with Mr. Vedrine... to have the meeting (with Peres) on my return from this visit," Arafat said after a meeting with French Foreign Minister Hubert Vedrine.

He said he had waited to meet with Peres at Gaza Airport on Sunday, "and Peres did not come."

"We had given another date for today (Monday) and we waited until 3:00 p.m. and the meeting did not take place," he said. "The meeting was agreed to be after I return from this visit."

The United States is keen the meeting takes place, saying it would help build Muslim support for a global war against terrorism in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks in New York and Washington.

"We agree there should be a cessation of violence," a U.S. diplomat in Tel Aviv told United Press International. But, "we also want to see progress. We don't want to give any young man with a mortar or a gun a veto over a much larger process."

Members of Peres' Labor Party agreed.

"You can't give every Palestinian with a Kalashnikov a right to veto what will happen, or else any Palestinian with a Kalashnikov will wake up in the morning, before a meeting, and cancel it with Jews' blood," said Transport Minister Ephraim Sneh.

In a related development, Palestinian officials said Israel began building up the buffer security zones near the northern West Bank towns of Jenin and Tulkarem and the area of Jordan Valley.

Palestinians would be forbidden to enter them and risk being shot if they do, while reports said that Israel would also establish military courts and detention camps in the no-go zones.

"The Israeli army order clearly says Palestinians won't be allowed to enter into these zones, but Israelis can," said Izel Dein El Sharif, the Palestinian governor of Tulkarem. "This strongly shows that it is an implementation of an Israel apartheid plan."

He told the Voice of Palestine radio the zones would range in width from a few hundred meters (218 yards) to as much as 2 kilometers (1.24 miles) from Jenin in the north to Tulkarem in the south.

Copyright 2001 by United Press International. All rights reserved.

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Prime Minister Ariel Sharon had insisted on 48 hours of quiet before a meeting, but Peres opposed that condition. A meeting between the two men Monday led to an understanding that was not publicized. Raanan Gissin, the prime minister's media adviser, did not repeat the...
Killing,Postpones,Arafat-Peres,Talk
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2001-00-24
Monday, 24 September 2001 12:00 AM
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