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Israel Rejects Cease-fire Proposal Extended by PNA


Israel Rejects Cease-fire Proposal Extended by PNA

As Israel's extra-judicial assassination of Palestinian resistance fighters persisted, the Palestine National Authority (PNA) extended its hand to the Jewish state with a new cease-fire proposal, which the latter rejected almost immediately.

In spite of Israel’s vocal plans to “remove” Yasser Arafat — through exile or even murder — the democratically - elected Palestinian President voiced his readiness to revive the morbid peace process.

“We say to the peace supporters in Israel that we extend our hand to you to revive peace,” he said on Tuesday as he addressed scores of Palestinians who poured into his battered Ramallah headquarters to express their solidarity.

PNA Minister of Information Nabil Amre explained that “there is a strong Palestinian wish to reach a cease-fire with the Israelis, but the only obstacle is Israel which is committed to the military road.”

Similarly, chief Palestinian negotiator Sa’eb Erekat stressed that the entire Palestinian leadership — headed by Arafat — supports a proposal voiced earlier by a top security adviser to the veteran leader for a comprehensive and immediate cease-fire with Israel.

Brig. Gen. Jibril Rjoub, said the new ceasefire offer was meant to put an end to all Palestinian resistance in exchange for an Israeli commitment to stop its military operations, including an end to blockades on Palestinian towns and villages.

“We are ready to sit and we are ready to declare a general ceasefire, but there needs to be something mutual because without mutuality nothing will be achieved,” Rjoub told Israel Radio.

AP sources said that an Israeli government official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the Israeli security Cabinet had decided last Thursday that it would not agree to any more ceasefires.

“The government of Israel rejects any idea of a ceasefire as a way of dealing with terrorism. Terrorism will stop only with the dismantlement and eradication of the terrorist organizations. This is the duty and the responsibility of the Palestinian Authority,” the Cabinet statement said.

This was the same meeting wherein the cabinet decided to “remove” the Palestinian President, either through expulsion or by murder, an option put forward by Ehud Olmert, the Jewish State’s deputy prime minister.

Raanan Gissin, a spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, and Silvan Shalom, the foreign minister, later tried to contain the outpour of international condemnation on Israel by saying that the decision would not be implemented immediately.

Israel’s political escalation comes at a time when its troops killed a teenage activist and a member of the Jihad group north of the West Bank, while it blew up several homes in what has become a bitter routine for Palestinians in the occupied territory.

Late Monday, several Israeli tanks and bulldozers rolled into the Rafah refugee camp, south of the caged-in Gaza Strip. By the Egyptian border, Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) blew up a house of Fathi Barhoum and razed several dunums of agricultural land.

On Tuesday, IOF soldiers gunned down a teenage activist in the Casbah of Nablus City, north of the West Bank.

Palestinian sources identified the activist as Fadi Abu Zant, 19. Ha’aretz reported that an IOF soldier was lightly hurt in the assassination.

In the Balata refugee camp, near the same city, IOF detained two Palestinians identified as Muamer Abu Hamdan, 32, and Fadi Ahmad Fares, 28. IOF also detained Iyad Abu Zahrah and his brother in Nablus, Mohammad Shaker Lahlouh, 18, and Ahmad Fathi Mire’i, 18, in the northern West Bank city of Jenin.

IOF also shot dead Majid Abu Dosh in the Singer neighborhood of the southern West Bank town of Dura, after firing missiles at his house, Ha’aretz reported

Israel said the 20-year-old was a member of the Palestinian group Islamic Jihad.

Witnesses said tanks shelled the house Abu Dosh was in and later flattened it to the ground.

Meanwhile, nine Palestinians arrested Tuesday in the West Bank, an IOF spokesman said.

And to the south, near Bethlehem, residents from the village of Jab’aa said some 60 olive trees had been uprooted by IOF bulldozers.

They said the land was to be annexed to the two nearby illegal Jewish settlements of Givaot and Bat Ayim.

Meanwhile, Israel continued its policy of demolishing Palestinians’ homes.

On Tuesday, the IOF demolished the 2-storey house of Rashid Mahmud Shehadeh, the 2-apartment house of Khader Fareed al-Ja’abari and the house of Abdul-Hadi Omar al-Hroub in occupied east Jerusalem.

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