Israel, Palestinians agree to form ”fugitive panel”
Israel and the Palestinians agreed to form a panel to take some Palestinian fugitives off Israel's hit list, a senior Israeli Defense Ministry official said Wednesday.
During the past four years, Israel killed or arrested hundreds of Palestinian activists, and is chasing several hundred more, the Palestinian Authority estimates.
Amos Gilad, the Israeli Defense Ministry official, told Army Radio that the two sides intend to establish a joint committee to decide which Palestinian fugitives will no longer be hunted by Israeli forces.
Israel won't go after Palestinian fugitives who hand in their weapons and sign a written statement pledging not to carry out attacks against Israeli targets, Gilad added, according to The AP. Any fugitive who violates the pledge will again become a target, he added.
The committee is to include members of the Israeli military and security service, and Palestinian officials.
"We have to include all the fugitives who stop being active. ... We are not talking about pardoning," Gilad said. "If they return to terror and if the attacks and the murders continue, then in the end we will return to a different type of vigorous activity," he said.
Meanwhile, Palestinian security forces destroyed a weapons smuggling tunnel Wednesday along the Gaza Strip-Egypt border, security officials said. The forces demolished the tunnel by filling it with water and sand, the officials said.
© 2005 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)