Quraya, in an interview with Iarael's Maariv newspaper on Wednesday,said he was ready to start talks with Israel immediately, with the aim of pushing forward the US-backed “road map” aimed at ending the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

“We are ready to fulfil our obligations as outlined by the road map on the condition that Israel fulfils its obligations as well,” said the premier, a day after his emergency cabinet was sworn in.

But Israeli Labour Minister, Zevulun Orlev, has dismissed the proposal, saying his country does not have to give Quraya a chance.

“He needs to prove himself through action and not through pleasant words,” said Orlev, a member of the right-wing National Religious Party.

The Israeli minister reiterated calls for Quraya to rein in Palestinian activists spearheading the Intifada against Israel’s occupation.

Steadfast resistance

The US-sponsored "road map" orders Palestinians to crack down on resistance fighters and Israel to halt construction of Jewish settlements. Under international law, all Jewish settlements are illegal.

Palestinian President Yasir Arafat swore in an emergency cabinet on Tuesday after declaring a state of emergency over the weekend, following renewed Israeli demands to “remove” the veteran leader.      

Israel has launched invasions
into Jenin since the Haifa bombing

Meanwhile, the Israeli army arrested the wife of an Islamic Jihad leader who was linked to a weekend resistance attack.

Camilia al-Ubaid is Amjad al-Ubaid's wife. Al-Ubaid is a senior of al-Quds Brigade, the armed wing of Islamic Jihad. She was arrested in the family house in the village of Zabuba, close to the occupied West Bank city of Jenin, said a source close to the family. 

Her husband, 36, is wanted in connection with the resistance 
attack at a restaurant in the northern Israeli city of Haifa that left 19 people dead, as well as the female bomber, who was from Jenin.

Earlier, Israeli occupation forces arrested 20 Palestinians in Jenin and its refugee camp.

Jenin has been under a blanket closure for four days, reported our correspondent.

Hundreds of Israeli soldiers re-invaded the city, storming civilian homes and interrogating residents