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SLUG: 2-291137 Israel / Palestinians
DATE:
NOTE NUMBER:

DATE=06/19/02

TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT

TITLE= ISRAEL PALESTINIANS (L / 2ND UPDATE)

NUMBER=2-291137

BYLINE= LARRY JAMES

DATELINE= JERUSALEM

CONTENT=

VOICED AT:

/// UPDATES CR 2-291130 ///

INTRO: The Palestinian Authority says Israel's announcement that it will reoccupy and hold parts of Palestinian-ruled territory is an open invitation to more violence. V-O-A's Larry James in Jerusalem reports Israeli tanks and armored vehicles have already entered several West Bank cities.

TEXT: A senior aide to Palestinian President Yasser Arafat called the Israeli announcement an invitation to violence.

Ahmed Abdel-Rahman added that any resistance to the occupation will now be legitimate. He said security for Israel will not come while Israeli soldiers occupy Palestinian land.

An Israeli government statement released before dawn Wednesday says Israel is changing the way it responds to what it calls murderous acts of terrorists. The statement says Israel has decided to counter terrorism by capturing territories of the Palestinian Authority. It said these areas will be held "as long as terror continues."

Palestinian witnesses say the Israeli army has reoccupied the town of Jenin and its refugee camp, and that troops are searching for suspected Palestinian militants. They say Israeli helicopters also have been firing at buildings in the area, which Israel says is a hotbed of Palestinian militant activity.

Israeli tanks and troops also carried out a pre-dawn raid on the city of Nablus and arrested a number of suspected Palestinian militants.

The Israeli military says soldiers also made several arrests in Qalqilya, the divided city of Hebron, and two nearby villages.

The Israeli action follows Tuesday's bus bombing in Jerusalem that killed 19 Israelis and wounded more than 50.

The radical Islamic group Hamas said its armed wing, the Izzedin al-Qassam Brigades, was responsible for the bombing. The group identified the bomber as a university student from the Al-Fara refugee camp near Nablus.

Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat said the Israeli action shows that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon wants to destroy the Palestinian Authority and block peace moves. He said Mr. Sharon is trying to abort every effort to revive the peace process, even if it comes from President Bush.

Mr. Bush is planning to make a major Middle East policy speech this week. The Washington Post newspaper, citing U-S and diplomatic sources, reports the president's new policy would call for the early creation of a Palestinian state and the completion of negotiations on permanent borders within three years.

A White House spokesman said the recent developments in the region will not interfere with the president's intention to lay out his peace initiative.

NEB/LDJ/JWH



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