Israel suspends further West Bank pullbacks, publishes list of Palestinian prisoners slated for release
The Israeli army will not transfer control of any more cities in the West Bank to the Palestinians until they act against gunmen behind a shooting attack near Bethlehem which left an Israeli woman and her three children wounded, Israel's Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz said Monday.
"Until we see how they act in Bethlehem following the attack, for now, we will not transfer more cities," Mofaz told reporters after Sunday night's attack.
"I assume that there will be a dialogue with the Palestinians and mostly we expect to see the results of Palestinian actions against the perpetrators of the attack."
Mofaz also said that Israel would not continue to release Palestinian prisoners and would demand that the Palestinians "take action and continue battling and dismantling the terrorist infrastructure until we take a decision in the future, if we take such a decision, over
The shooting came about a month after the Israeli army pulled out of the nearby West Bank town of Bethlehem and surrounding villages, as part of a deal to transfer security responsibility to Palestinian security forces.
On his part, Palestinian Foreign Minister Nabil Sha'ath told Israel's Army Radio on Monday that there had been some breaches of the truce by Palestinians but recent attacks against Israeli targets had not originated from territories under PA control. He said that "this is a violation of the ceasefire; had these things happened in Gaza, we would have run after these people and put them in jail but in the West Bank we don't have yet real security presence to prosecute violators [of the truce]."
Meanwhile, Israel is set to free 443 Palestinian prisoners on Wednesday and a list containing the names of 349 of the Palestinian slated for release was published on Monday on an official Israeli Web site.
Israel's ministerial committee on Palestinian prisoners on Sunday approved the release of the 443 Palestinian detainees, following coordination with the Palestinian Authority.
Most of the prisoners due to be released were sentenced to a maximum of two years imprisonment, with most sentenced to just a few months. The list does however include prisoners
sentenced to 13 and 15 years. (Albawaba.com)
© 2003 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)