Arafat welcomes resumption of talks with Israel
Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat on Saturday welcomed the renewal of high-level contacts between the PA and Israel and called for additional talks.
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon held secret talks Wednesday with Ahmed Qurei, a leading Palestinian negotiator.
Arafat said the Palestinians were ready to restart talks. "There is a decision within the Palestinian leadership to continue talks with the Israelis," Arafat told reporters at his headquarters in Ramallah. "We are ready for any talks as long as this might lead us to peace."
"You have to remember that I asked Sharon to resume negotiations with me and he rejected this," Arafat said. "This was just a few days after he won the elections."
Meanwhile, the Israeli army on Saturday demolished the West Bank homes of two Palestinians who carried out earlier this week a shooting attack that left two Israeli soldiers dead.
The two Palestinians, Anan Hani and Ahmed Hamad, were also killed in the firefight.
Early Saturday, the army tore down the home of Hani, where nine people were living, and the house of Hamad, were seven people were living, witnesses said. The men lived in two villages just outside Nablus. (Albawaba.com)