The Palestinian resistance movement Hamas lashed out at the PA's decision to imprison the suspected killers of an Israeli minister under a US-brokered plan that would lift Israel's month-long siege of Yasser Arafat.
"The PA accepted the proposal (of US President George W.) Bush to place Palestinian fighters accused for the murder of a Zionist official in a prison under US and British guard", a Hamas communique said.
"We, Hamas, refuse and denounce this measure that constitutes a new submission to American and Zionist demands and conditions", it said.
Hamas made no mention of Fuad Shubaki, an advisor to Arafat implicated in an arms-smuggling attempt, who is also to be imprisoned as part of the deal.
On Sunday, both Israel and the PA accepted a US plan to lift the siege on Arafat in return for the six Palestinians' imprisonment in a West Bank jail under US and British guard. The PA decision "is a blow against Palestinian national unity and the sovereignty of the Palestinian people in their land", Hamas said.
The group also denounced the "concentration of all efforts on the question of raising the siege on Arafat." "All of the Palestinian people is suffering because of the tight blockade, not just Mr. Arafat."
Meanwhile, Palestinian officials met with US and British security experts to discuss the plan to lift the siege on Yasser Arafat's West Bank compound, a Palestinian security official told AFP.
The experts wound up the meeting, which took place at a Palestinian ministry in the West Bank town of Ramallah, without making a statement. The security official said they would convene again early Tuesday.
Information minister Yasser Abed Rabbo and Mohammed Rashid, Arafat's economic adviser, represented the Palestinians in the meeting with security experts from the British and US consulates in Jerusalem, the source said.
In Washington, White House press secretary Ari Fleischer said "The president is pleased with the action over the weekend and pleased with the initial follow-through but it's going to have to be closely monitored." "Nothing in the Middle East is easy," he said. "Nothing stays as hopeful as you'd like it to be for long." (Albawaba.com)
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