Israel Sends Troops into Gaza Strip, Proposes Withdrawal from Ramallah
Israeli forces carried out an incursion into Palestinian-controlled territory in the Gaza Strip Friday, pushing some 500 meters into the village of Beit Lahiya, Palestinian security sources told AFP.
Two tanks and two bulldozers stormed the area, which borders the Jewish settlement of Dugit, and began to destroy farmland, the sources said.
Strips of land around Beit Lahiya have been occupied by Israeli forces since Palestinian fighters attacked a nearby Jewish settlement on October 3, killing two Israelis.
Separately, two Israeli tanks made an incursion of 200 meters in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, added the agency.
In both cases, Israeli forces entered Palestinian self-rule areas for no reason, security sources said.
Meanwhile, Israel has proposed to the Palestinian Authority that the next withdrawal in its phased exit from Palestinian territory (Area A) be from the positions the army had re-occupied in Ramallah, according to the Tel Aviv-based daily Haaretz.
The proposal was passed to Palestinian President Yasser Arafat through British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
A defense source explained Thursday night that Ramallah had been quiet in recent days. The city is also far from the Green Line that delineates Israel's UN-designated territory from Palestinian land seized in 1967.
Foreign Minister Shimon Peres gave the Ramallah proposal to Blair, said the paper.
Over 700 Palestinians and more than 170 Israelis have been killed in the latest uprising against 34 years of Israeli military occupation.
Sharon, who took office promising to deliver security for ordinary Israelis within a matter of months, recently told leaders from his Likud Party that there would be a long, drawn-out struggle against "terrorists" – Albawaba.com
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