|VOICE OF AMERICA|
SLUG: 2-321779 Israel / Palestinians (L-only)
TITLE=ISRAEL / PALESTINIANS (L-ONLY)
HEADLINE: Israel Suspends Relations with Palestinian Authority
INTRO: The Israeli government has cut all ties with the new Palestinian
president-elect until he curbs attacks against Israel. The move comes a day
after an attack by Palestinian militants on a Gaza border crossing.
VOA's Benjamin Sand has more from Jerusalem.
TEXT: Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon on Friday ordered all government officials
to end contacts with the Palestinian authority.
A government spokesman said the ban will remain until incoming Palestinian
leader Mahmoud Abbas cracks down on militant factions.
On Thursday, Palestinian militants launched a coordinated bombing and ground assault on a border crossing in Gaza that killed six Israelis.
The attack was seen as serious challenge to Mr. Abbas, who has called for
an end to violence and a resumption of peace talks with Israel.
The new Palestinian leader, due to be officially sworn in Saturday, has condemned the killings. His aides say the Israeli move unfairly punishes him before he
even takes office.
Mr. Abbas' election last Sunday was widely hailed as a positive step toward
improving ties with Israel. He spoke with Prime Minister Sharon earlier
this week and the two had been expected to meet in just a few days. (SIGNED)
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