Sharon Speaks About Buffer Zones, Hints He Will Lift Travel Ban on Arafat; Seven Palestinians Killed
In his address to the nation Thursday night, Israel’s Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said that he would immediately establish buffer zones between Israel and the Palestinian territories.
"In order to increase the security of our citizens, we have decided to immediatley establish buffer zones, so as to achieve security separation. The expanded cabinet decided several days ago to begin marking buffer zones and establishing obstacles along these zones."
Sharon said that Israel will continue to negotiate with the Palestinians in order to reach a peace agreement. "My goal is to reach a comprehensive peace with the Palestinians which will enable quiet and secure lives for us and for them," Sharon stated.
Sharon also hinted he will end Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat’s home arrest in Ramallah. Commenting about the news that Palestinian security forces arrested three suspects in the assassination of Israeli cabinet minister Rehavam Ze'evi on Thursday morning, Sharon stated “I will honor all my commitments.” The arrests of Zeevi killers meet a key Israeli condition for lifting the travel ban on Arafat.
Inspecting the compound after Israeli air strike Arafat described it as "Israeli rudeness": This is an attempt to make the Palestinian people and its leadership kneel, but they don't know that this people and its leadership are the mighty people."
He added ''this aggression will give the Palestinians more strength, more steadfastness and determination to continue the Palestinian legitimate struggle.''
However, the President said that he hopes that U.S. President George W. Bush would "intervene" and continue the peace process "that his father started in Madrid's peace conference."
"We want to achieve the peace of the brave, not only for the Palestinian people, but also for the Israeli people, for the sake of their children and our children," stressed Arafat.
Israeli troops killed seven Palestinians and wounded at least 33 others during raids Thursday into Palestinian-ruled territory in the Gaza Strip and in the West Bank.
Five of the Palestinians were killed before dawn Thursday morning in an Israeli raid on the Gaza Strip.
Palestinian sources said Walid al Sheikh, 25, was killed Thursday afternoon by Israeli fire on a group of Palestinians in Kalandiya near the West Bank city of Ramallah. Three other Palestinians were wounded by the Israeli fire, including al Sheikh's wife, who was seriously injured.
Palestinians also said that Mahmoud Abu Taha was killed Thursday by Israeli troops in Rafah.
Palestinian witnesses said Thursday evening that Israeli helicopters fired missiles at Palestinian security targets in the Gaza Strip. They said that four missiles slammed into a security complex in the southern Gaza Strip refugee camp of Rafah. (Albawaba.com)
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