Truce shaky as Dahlan Mofaz to meet

Palestinian security chief Mohammad Dahlan will discuss with Israeli Defence Minister Shaul Mofaz on Sunday further Israeli withdrawals, Dahlan's office announced Saturday.

    Israeli occupation forces clashed
    with resistance fighters in Jenin

    The meeting comes after the

    death of a Palestinian in an explosion in the Gaza Strip early Saturday.

     

    The meeting was suggested during talks between Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas and his Israeli counterpart, Ariel Sharon, in Jerusalem last Tuesday.

     

    Both Dahlan and Mofaz were present.

     

    Under the terms of an agreement with the Palestinian Authority, Israel began a partial withdrawal from certain areas of the Gaza Strip last Sunday.

     

    Israeli forces pulled out of Bethlehem on the West Bank on Wednesday andl handed over security to the Palestinians.

     

    The withdrawal comes as a step toward the implementation of the US-sponsored "road map," which calls for the creation of an independent Palestinian state by 2005.

     

    A Palestinian killed

     

    On Saturday morning, Majdi Abu Shaluf, 22, was killed and another person injured in an explosion in Khuzaa, east of the southern town of Khan Yunis.

     

    The area is close to the line separating the Strip from Israel.

    "(Abu) Shaluf was killed by an explosive device left behind by the Israeli army," a Palestinian security spokesman said.

     

    The fate of a third man on the scene was not immediately known.

    Abu Shaluf's death increased the toll to 2,545 Palestinians killed since the Intifadah (or uprising) began in September 2000.

     

    The killing came as the truce declared by Palestinian resistance groups entered its seventh day.

     

    Other incidents in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank did not result in any casualties.

     

    In the same area where Abu Shaluf was killed, a bomb was detonated overnight as an Israeli patrol passed by, Israeli military sources said.

     

    The sources claimed that Israeli occupation troops were shot at and returned fire near the Jewish settlement of Ganei Tal, close to Khan Yunis.

     

    Two mortar rounds and an anti-tank rocket were also fired at another Jewish settlement in the central part of the Gaza strip.

     

    All Jewish settlements erected in Palestinian territories occupied since 1967 are illegal under international law.

     

    Moreover, an Israeli occupation position in Rafah on the border with Egypt was struck by a grenade.

     

    Near the northern West Bank town of Jenin, Israeli occupation forces clashed with Palestinian resistance fighters who were able to overturn an Israeli tank, Aljazeera correspondent reported.

     

    Israeli forces, supported by two US-made Apache helicopters, spent five hours trying to turn the tank back upright and save the soldiers trapped inside it.

     

    Our correspondent also reported that occupation forces destroyed a main power line supplying the city with electricity.

     

    As a result, Jenin plunged into darkness.

     

    Palestinian anxiety continues

     

    The security fence has a severe
    impact on Palestinians' livelihood

    While the situation has become more calm, anxiety continues among Palestinians.

     

    The construction of Israel’s security fence has led to the isolation of villages that found themselves wedged between Israel to the west and a new Israeli fence to the east.

     

    “It leaves a question mark over our whole future,” said 67-year-old farmer Abd al-Fattah Abd Allah.

     

    “They are strangling us. The people can no longer breathe,” he added.

     

    Abd al-Fattah lives in Nazlat Abu Nar, one of three villages that have become completely cut off from the rest of the occupied West Bank.

     

    He, like thousands of other Palestinians, has lost his farmland and other natural resources as a result of the fence.

     

    The area is fertile ground that has yielded olives, fruit and vegetables in abundance.

     

    But Israeli occupation troops have expropriated and razed thousands of hectares there to build the fence.

     

    Occupation forces began building the fence last year, saying it would prevent human bomb operations.

     

    Jawdat Ketana - head of the village council - said he had lost 0.8 hectares, representing two thirds of his land, as a result of the fence.

     

    Israel pushed the route of the fence about four kilometers east into the West Bank rather than following the path of the “green Line”, which separates Israel from occupied Palestinian territories.


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