Israel Willing to Coordinate Gaza Pullout

Discussion in 'Middle East - General' started by Bonnie, Nov 15, 2004.

  1. Bonnie

    Bonnie Senior Member

    Jun 30, 2004
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    Israel on Monday offered its first indication it was reassessing relations with the Palestinians after Yasser Arafat's death, suggesting it might coordinate a planned withdrawal from the Gaza Strip if the Palestinian Authority cracks down on militant groups.

    Palestinian leaders reacted cautiously to remarks by Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom and argued that Israel should "unconditionally" reopen peace talks under the U.S.-backed "road map" plan.

    Prime Minister Ariel Sharon had previously fefused to negotiate the "unilateral disengagement plan" with Arafat, insisting that he was respoonsible for four years of fighting. Arafat's death in a French hospital last week opened up what many leaders believe is a crucial opportunity to revive the Middle East peace process by clearing the way for a more moderate leadership.

    If leaders emerge who are willing to stem the violence, Israel is prepared to coordinate the plan to move troops and 8,800 Jewish settlers out of the Gaza Strip and four West Bank settlements, Isralei officials say on Monday. Such coordination is considered crucial to avoid a chaotic transition.

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