- JERUSALEM (Reuters) - A
woman was killed in new fighting Tuesday as Israeli forces held onto
in two Palestinian-ruled West Bank areas despite a renewed international
demand for their withdrawal.
- The five permanent members of the United Nations Security
Council -- the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China -- called
Monday for an Israeli pullout from Palestinian areas and for Palestinians
to end 13 months of violence.
- Raanan Gissin, a spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister
Ariel Sharon, said troops would not leave West Bank areas around Jenin
and Tulkarm until Palestinian security forces agreed to restrain militants
and prevent violence.
- "There is a plan to withdraw. It has been postponed
and delayed because of the current security situation," Gissin told
Reuters. "People get killed, that's why we're there... Under these
conditions we can't withdraw."
- Later Tuesday, a gun battle erupted between troops and
Palestinian gunmen in Tulkarm, Palestinian witnesses and medics said. They
said Wafa Nasif, 29, was shot dead by Israeli fire as she sat in her
- The army said troops exchanged fire with Palestinian
gunmen who were firing from buildings south of Tulkarm.
- Israel reoccupied areas in and around six
cities in the West Bank after Palestinian radicals assassinated a far-right
cabinet minister on October 17. It has withdrawn from four of the
- Palestinian cabinet minister Hassan Asfour condemned
the appeal by the U.N. Security Council's five major powers for an end
to the revolt against occupation, saying it justified "Israel's
acts against the Palestinian people."
- Asfour said the five Security Council members had missed
a chance to restart long-stalled Middle East peace talks.
- "I was hoping that the foreign ministers would ...
attempt to put an end to the conflict, reiterating the need to end Israel's
occupation," he told Reuters.
- DIPLOMATIC EFFORTS
- The United States has been trying to calm the violence
to cement Arab and Islamic support for its anti-terror campaign in
launched after the September 11 attacks.
- A delegation of European Union leaders was to leave for
the Middle East Friday to try to coax Israel and the Palestinians back
to peace talks and bolster relations with Arab states concerned about
officials in Brussels said.
- Jordanian Prime Minister Ali Abu al-Ragheb said Arab
states and the European Union were seeking a Middle East peace plan.
- "Huge Arab and European efforts are under way on
the basis of (establishing) a Palestinian state on the horizon and at the
same time declaring an initiative for peace negotiations," he was
quoted as saying in the Jordan Times.
Site Served by TheHostPros