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More Middle East killings as Arab nations confer on crisis
JERUSALEM (CNN) -- Palestinian-Israeli clashes continued today and Palestinian mourners buried their dead as the 22-nation Arab League opened an emergency summit in Cairo, Egypt, to deal with the three-week-long Middle East crisis.
Palestinian protesters fought with Israeli soldiers in Gaza and the West Bank on Saturday, leaving four Palestinians dead -- one in Jenin, one in Hebron, one in Ramallah, all in the West Bank, and one in Gaza according to Palestinian hospital sources. Meanwhile, in the West Bank town of Nablus, tens of thousands joined a funeral march for Palestinians killed in Friday's clashes.
Israeli Defense Forces denies that Israelis killed the Palestinian in Hebron. Israel said he had been shot to death with live ammunition and its forces were not using live ammunition in Hebron.
The Israeli army said on Saturday that soldiers had killed at least one Arab in a firefight on the Israel-Lebanon border, during the night.
An Israeli government spokesman said he could not confirm reports that the man killed in border fighting was from the Iranian-backed Hezbollah group, which is holding four Israelis captive.
In Lebanon, Hezbollah denied any association with Friday night's firefight.
The army said soldiers unleashed missiles and attack helicopters opened fire with machine guns during the firefight.
Israel may consider 'time out'
Saturday's fighting and funerals came a day after Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak said his country would wait to see what comes out of the Arab League summit in Cairo. He announced that Israel will monitor the crisis, reassess its position and, if necessary, call for a "time out" in the peace process.
At least nine Palestinians were killed in Friday's clashes. The fighting has continued virtually unabated since September 28, when Israeli opposition Likud party leader Ariel Sharon visited a Jerusalem shrine holy to both Muslims and Jews.
Friday's fighting broke out during the passage of a 48-hour so-called "cooling-off" period, agreed upon by Israel and Palestinians at an emergency summit Monday in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.
Arafat calls for permanent peace
In Cairo, Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat continued to say his goal is peace.
"I affirm that despite all the wounds and disappointments created during the difficult peace period on the Palestinian track, our choice is the choice of permanent, just and comprehensive peace," Arafat told fellow Arab League leaders.
Syria's new President Bashar Assad, attending his first Arab League summit, took a somewhat harsher tone.
"While we are after peace, Israel is after war," Assad said.
"I must say (Assad) used very extreme language," Israeli Parliament member Dan Meridor told CNN. "Extreme language will not lead anywhere ... We need an agreement, he needs an agreement, we need to talk, not to create this dramatic destabilization of the area."
Palestinian Cabinet minister Ziad Abu Zayyad told CNN on Saturday that if Israeli forces withdraw from the occupied territories and Israel promises to live with the Palestinians as "good neighbors, then things will change 180 degrees."
E.U. and U.N. react
In Paris, France, the European Union on Saturday appealed to Israelis and Palestinians to work harder to make peace and to end the fighting that has left close to 120 people dead, mostly Palestinians.
"The European Union again appeals for an immediate halt to violence in the Palestinian territories," the 15-nation bloc said in a statement.
Meanwhile, the United Nations issued its third recent criticism of Israel on Friday, when the General Assembly voted 92-6 to condemn what it called the "excessive use of force" by Israeli troops.
The United States, Israel and four other countries voted against the non-binding resolution. Forty-six nations voted to abstain, while 30 countries didn't cast a ballot at all.
Israel considers 'time out' as Mideast clashes intensify
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