Israel, Palestinian Security Officials Agree to Halt Violence after Week of Deadly Clashes

Published October 5th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

The Israeli army announced Thursday it had agreed with the Palestinian security forces on a halt to violence after a week of bloodshed that has left more than 70 dead. 

The army said it followed a meeting between central region commander General Yitzhak Eitan with his Palestinian counterparts overnight. 

"During the meeting it was agreed that there would be a halt to the violence, the disturbances to public order and the shooting in the zones of friction between the two sides," it said in a statement. 

"It was agreed that in the West Bank, the army would keep its fixed positions established before the outbreak of the violence and will not occupy new positions," it added. 

"For their part, the Palestinians have committed to respect a ceasefire and avoid violence," it said. 

A total of 73 people, mainly Palestinians have been killed in bloody clashes throughout the West Bank and Gaza Strip that spilled also into Israeli proper and continued despite ceasefire agreements. 

But army spokesman Yarden Vatikay warned: "If they don't fulfill their promise we have to respond." 

The army announcement came after the failure of marathon talks between Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat to reach a comprehensive ceasefire accord, apparently breaking down over Palestinian demands for an international inquiry into the clashes. 

However, Transport and Tourism Minister Amnon Lipkin-Shahak who attended the Paris talks, said Israel had agreed to take measures to halt the violence and pull back to positions occupied before the outbreak of hostilities a week ago. 

"He (Arafat) committed himself three times to an immediate halt to violence without conditions -- to us, to the Americans and to French President Jacques Chirac," said Lipkin-Shahak, who attended the Paris talks. 

"I heard him on the telephone giving such orders to his commanders," he added – JERUSALEM (AFP) 

© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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