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Archive for Sunday, October 28, 2001

Israel suspends West Bank withdrawal

October 28, 2001

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— Israel suspended a planned withdrawal from two West Bank towns Saturday after it said Palestinian gunmen fired on its soldiers. Palestinians said the pullout was supposed to have been unconditional and that the delay shows Israel isn't serious about peace.

In the occupied West Bank town of Tulkarem, Feras Jaber, 24, a member of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's Fatah movement, was shot and killed in an exchange of fire with Israeli tanks, Palestinian doctors and officials said.

Israel had been scheduled to withdraw from Bethlehem and Beit Jalla late Saturday. The occupations began after the Oct. 17 slaying of Tourism Minister Rehavam Zeevi.

It wasn't clear how long the suspension would last, but Israeli officials said the pullout wouldn't occur before today or while they were under fire. Israel is under pressure to pull out from the occupied territories from the United States, which worried that further unrest would undermine support among Arab nations for its anti-terrorism campaign.

Raanan Gissin, an aide to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, said the pullout would occur when the Palestinian Authority adheres to a cease-fire he said it agreed to Friday.

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