Abbas, Israeli Labour party chief meet

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has held talks in Ram Allah with the head of the centre-left Israeli Labour party's parliamentary faction, Efraim Sneh.

    Abbas met Efraim Sneh in Ram Allah

    The two men on Saturday discussed the recent Israeli evacuation of Jewish settlers from the Gaza Strip and from four other enclaves in the northern West Bank and how to get the stalled Mideast peace effort back on track.

    "We discussed implementation of the ‘roadmap’ after the disengagement plan and support for the peace process," Sneh told reporters after the talks, without giving further details.

    "Most of the people, Israelis and Palestinians, support peace in our region," he said.

    The Palestinians and international community are pressing for an immediate return to the peace blueprint as soon as Israel completes its withdrawal from the Gaza Strip.

    Eviction of all 8000 Jewish settlers was completed this month, and troops are expected to complete their pullback by mid-September.

    Efraim Sneh said he discussed
    the peace process with Abbas

    The peace blueprint, which has been largely deadlocked since its launch two years ago, is a phased plan that intends to end nearly five years of violence in the region by creating an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel.

    Israel refused to make the Gaza Strip withdrawal part of the roadmap and said it would only consider returning to the peace plan once the pullback was completed.

    Cabinet meeting

    The Palestinian cabinet is to meet in the east Jerusalem suburb of Abu Dis on Sunday, the first time it has convened on the outskirts of the holy city that Israel claims as its capital.

    "The cabinet is to meet in Abu Dis as a mark of our concern at the new Israeli settlement plans" around east Jerusalem, Planning Minister Ghassan al-Khatib told AFP.

    The meeting, to be led by prime minister Ahmad Qureia, will be at Al-Quds University.

    Ministers will visit a section of the separation barrier that Israel is building around east Jerusalem in defiance of Palestinian protests and a ruling of the International Court of Justice in The Hague.

    Settlement projects

    Last week, Israel announced plans to build a new police headquarters near Maale Adumim, the largest West Bank settlement where it had sparked US anger with a project to build 3500 new homes.

    The twin projects threaten to cut off east Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank, and the Palestinian premier described them as "very dangerous". 


    Israel's barrier around east
    Jerusalem has upset Palestinians

    Abu Dis is under Israeli security control but the Palestinians control the suburb's administration. The Israeli army seized the Palestinian Authority's offices in the town in August 2001.

    Israel captured east Jerusalem in the 1967 Middle East war and later annexed it in a move never recognized by the international community.

    Group seeks leader's release

    The Popular Front for Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) has called for the immediate release of its secretary-general, Ahmed Saadat, who was detained by the Palestinian Authority in Jericho, Aljazeera reported.

    Saadat was detained during a military parade staged by PFLP followers in Jenin to mark the anniversary of the death of its leader, Abu Ali Mustafa, who was killed by Israeli helicopter gunships in Ramallah in 2001.


    Hundreds of Palestinians on Saturday staged a sit in in front of the Red Cross building in Hebron to express solidarity with Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.

    Masked armed men read a statement urging that resistance continue if Israel doesn't release more than 8000 Palestinian prisoners in its jails.

    Families of the detainees carried photos of prisoners at the sit-in.

    The protesters said they consider the Israeli pullout from the Gaza Strip incomplete without the release of the Palestinian prisoners.

    SOURCE: Aljazeera + Agencies


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