Arafat: Israeli Troop Buildups New 'Danger' to Peace
Palestinian president Yasser Arafat warned the international community on Thursday that Israeli troop reinforcements in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip constitute a new danger to the Middle East peace process.
"We have informed the UN, the EU, America, Russia, China and Japan about this issue," Arafat told reporters in the West Bank town of Ramallah after a meeting with UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.
Arafat was responding to information published Thursday in the Palestinian media that said Israel has reinforced its military positions near Jewish settlements in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
"It is a danger not only to the Palestinian track, but to peace in the Middle East as a whole," Arafat added.
Arafat's Palestinian Authority has complained that Israel was preparing for a military confrontation with it by fortifying with sand bags, tanks, tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets the troops that guard Jewish settlements in the Palestinian territories.
Israeli security services have warned Prime Minister Ehud Barak that heavy clashes could erupt if peace talks fail ahead of a mid-September deadline for a final deal - RAMALLAH (AFP)
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