PA, Israel hold high level security talks; Israeli court bans army using Palestinians as ''human shields''
Israel and the Palestinians held Sunday night their highest level security talks in two weeks, with discussions focusing on a possible Israeli withdrawal from re-occupied areas.
Israeli Defence Minister Binyamin Ben Eliezer and Palestinian interior minister Abdel Razaq al-Yahya met at a Tel Aviv hotel for talks on the so-called "Gaza First" plan for a gradual Israeli withdrawal from re-occupied areas where calm has prevailed.
The plan is projected to commence in the Gaza Strip, and possibly in the southern West Bank towns of Bethlehem and Hebron.
Among the Israeli delegation were the army chiefs of the south and central commands, a senior military official representing the army in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and representatives of the Shabak, Israel's internal security service.
The Palestinian negotiation team included Haj Ismail Jaber, head of the Palestinian security services in the West Bank and the former Palestinian security chief in Gaza Strip, Mohammed Dahlan, Palestinian officials said.
Earlier in the day, Ben Eliezer told the cabinet at its weekly meeting there had been a "certain drop in the number of attacks" by Palestinians in the past week, but said the fall was due to Israeli army and security services operations and that there were still "terrorist groups trying to strike at Israel."
On Sunday, Israeli forces made two incursions into Palestinian autonomous zones, detained a Palestinian Authority worker in Deir El-Balah in the central Gaza Strip and eight members of the same family in Rafah on the Egyptian border, Palestinians officials said.
Israeli army radio also reported shots being fired at troops manning a checkpoint on the northern edge of Jerusalem, on the road to the West Bank town of Ramallah. No one was hurt in the incident, it said.
The Israeli army demolished two Palestinian houses being built near a road reserved for Jewish settlers on the outskirts of the village of Luban al-Sharqiyah in the northern West Bank, an army spokesman said, according to AFP.
In another development, the Israeli High Court of Justice granted Sunday a coalition of human rights groups a restraining order against the Israeli army's use of the "neighbor practice."
The practice is used by soldiers who order the neighbor of a wanted Palestinian suspect to go to the suspect's house to ask him to give himself up, thus exposing the neighbor, not soldiers, to the risk the wanted man might open fire.
The one-week restraining order bans the army from using the practice until the High Court rules on a previous petition, which asked the court to ban the use of Palestinian civilians as "human shields," Haaretz reported.
The rights groups claim, via attorney Marwan Dalal, that on August 14, Ahmed Abu Mohsan, 19, was killed after Israeli soldiers forced him to walk ahead of them and knock on the door of his neighbor in the West Bank village of Tubas, during an Israeli raid on the village. (Albawaba.com)
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