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Withdrawal of Israeli Forces May Bring End to Counter-Attacks

Withdrawal of Israeli Forces May Bring End to Counter-Attacks

Posted June. 16, 2003 21:56,   


The road map to peace in the Middle East is again showing signs of progress. Mediators are trying to bring Israeli forces and Palestinian extremists to a truce while Israel is considering a gradual withdrawal from some parts of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank town of Bethlehem.

Senior officials in Israel and Palestine said that Israel was likely to offer the withdraw of Israeli troops from parts of the northern Gaza Strip during security talks that would be held June 14 and 15, foreign media reported on June 15.

Israeli representative Amos Gilad proposed a plan for gradual withdrawal from the Gaza Strip during the talks making it a condition that the Palestinian autonomous government convinces Palestinian militant groups to stop attacking Jews, Israeli army radio reported. This is the first measure towards a peace settlement and if the Palestinians are able to prevent militants from launching rockets from northern Gaza Strip, the Israelis will then gradually withdraw from the other areas.

Palestinian security chief, Mohammed Dahlan promised to hold back attacks from Palestine extremists and said that Palestine is ready to provide security where Israeli forces leave.

Dahlan also asked to hand over public peace keeping duties in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank town of Bethlehem. The Israelis were said to have reviewed his request, a Palestinian spokesperson said.

For Israeli forces and Palestine militant groups, the most important task in the peace process in the Middle East is being actively mediated.

Palestinian officials said that the Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas was to meet representatives of Palestinian extremist groups yesterday to discuss truce conditions.

U.S. President George W. Bush urged the international community to take strong measures against Palestinian extremist groups Sunday and strongly criticized Palestinian militant groups such as Hamas for refusing to accept the road map to peace.