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Israel & Palestinians Resume Political Contacts To Prepare Sharon-Abbas Summit

Israeli Officials: ‘We Have Suspended Targeted Killings Of Terrorists Except For Cases Of Ticking Bombs’

Palestinian Security Forces Also Deploy In Southern Gaza Strip To Prevent Terror Attacks

Palestinian Security

Senior Israeli and Palestinian officials met in a Jerusalem hotel today to start planning for a summit between Israel’s Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. It was the first political meeting since Sharon suspended all contact with the Palestinians after the Palestinian terror attack, which murdered six Israeli civilians working at the Karni Cargo Terminal on January 15th. Israeli officials have confirmed that the IDF has suspended targeted killings of terrorists except in ticking bomb situations. In another development, Palestinian security forces are also being deployed in the Southern Gaza Strip to prevent terror attacks on Israel.

If the present trend continues, a Sharon-Abbas summit is in the offing, maybe within several weeks. Top Israeli and Palestinian officials have met in a Jerusalem hotel to start planning the summit agenda.

Ehud Olmert

Ariel Sharon has responded to the decision by Mahmoud Abbas to deploy Palestinian security personnel along the Gaza border for preventing more Qassam rocket and mortar attacks on Israeli towns and villages. Sharon’s top aide Dov Weisglass met with Palestinian cabinet official Saeb Erekat in a Jerusalem hotel today; they are to see each other again next week to continue planning for the summit.

Mohammed Dachlan, a Palestinian security kingpin in the Gaza Strip participated on the Palestinian team. It is likely that Dachlan informed the Israelis about the Palestinian security moves to halt attacks. Since Abbas ordered his security forces to move into the northern border area of Gaza, several days ago, only a couple of Qassam rockets have been launched into Israel. There were no casualties or damage. However, there have been a series of other local incidents.

Cabinet minister Ehud Olmert has confirmed that Israel has suspended the targeted killing of terrorists, except for suicide bombers on their way to blow up Israelis. Prime Minister Sharon’s spokesman Raanan Gissin also says Israel is ready to meet Palestinian ‘quiet with quiet’.

Shimon Peres

Associate Premier Shimon Peres of the Labor party believes things are being to move in the right direction and there is now a good chance that Israel and the Palestinians will be able to cooperate on the Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and four West Bank settlements next summer.

David Essing

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