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Palestinian negotiator says violence will stop if Israel withdraws troops
CNN Correspondents Jerrold Kessel and Jane Arraf contributed to this report.
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A senior Palestinian negotiator said Sunday that the violence that has rocked the West Bank and Gaza for a month would end if Israel withdrew its forces from what was described as "Palestinian territory."
Palestinian negotiator Hanan Ashrawi told CNN Sunday anchor Gene Randall that she could give an assurance that the stone-throwing and other violence by Palestinians would cease if Israel withdrew its forces.
Pressed by Randall to confirm that such an assurance was genuine, Ashrawi said, "Absolutely."
Her words came on a day that saw five more Palestinian deaths in clashes at four West Bank and Gaza flashpoints.
Also Sunday, a meeting between Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and right-wing Likud party leader Ariel Sharon failed to produce agreement on a coalition government.
Earlier in the interview, Ashrawi had said there was "a very simple way out (of the violence).
"If the Israeli army, the occupation army, would withdraw from Palestinian territory, leave our cities, villages and camps alone, withdraw the tanks, withdraw the gunships, withdraw the checkpoints, stop using live ammunition, the situation will quiet down."
Tova Herzl, minister of congressional affairs at the Israeli Embassy in Washington and the new Ambassador to South Africa, countered Ashrawi's assurance of an end to the violence that at the Camp David summit "we were willing to make very, very, very generous, unprecedented compromises, and the response was violence."
Sitting on the other side of Randall during the program, Herzl said, "When we have a deal, when we have an arrangement, then according to what that arrangement says, our troops will stand where we decide together, not through force."
Sitting on the other side of Randall during the same program, Herzl said, "When we have a deal, when we have an arrangement, then according to what that arrangement says, our troops will stand where we decide together, not through force."
Sharon accused of being 'anti-peace'
Asked what it would mean if Sharon joined the emergency government in Israel, Ashrawi said it was well known that Sharon was "anti-peace."
"To us he is a war criminal, guilty of crimes against humanity. If Israel wants to add him to their government, it says something about the Israeli body politic and moral ethos."
Herzl, however, said Sharon actually was the first Israeli politician to propose the establishment of a Palestinian state -- in 1975.
She said Barak was in a difficult political situation in Israel and there was no secret about that.
The reason was because he was being criticized for being overly generous, "and the reaction he is getting is very unfortunate."
Ashrawi said she thinks it would be a good idea for Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat to go to Washington to talk again to U.S. President Bill Clinton, who has extended an invitation to Arafat.
"Also, I would like to invite President Clinton to come and live under occupation and see what it means to be under a state of siege and to be on the receiving end of so much ammunition given to Israel and paid for by U.S. tax dollars," she said.
'We have to live together'
Herzl said Barak had said repeatedly that as soon as the violence stopped he was determined to continue the peace process.
"The acting foreign minister (Shlomo Ben Ami) is on his way to Washington to discuss ways to open up the peace process again, because we have no choice. We have to live together.
"At the same time, it is important for Mr. Arafat with his own voice to tell the Palestinian people to stop the violence, not to hide behind Palestinian sources, not to sit down with Hamas and the Islamic Jihad about how we proceed from here, not to release terrorists from jail."
In Sunday's clashes, two Palestinians were shot to death in Nablus and another Palestinian man was killed in Jenin, also in the West Bank.
A Palestinian boy was killed in violence in Rafah in Gaza, and Palestinian hospital sources said one Palestinian was killed and more than a dozen others were wounded in clashes at a commercial crossing point, Karni, in Gaza on Sunday.
Israel moved tanks into the area as military forces clashed with 200 to 300 Palestinian demonstrators. Israeli forces fired machine guns at the Palestinians, calling it retaliatory action. Palestinians said they were only throwing stones.
Israeli Cabinet Minister Amnon Lipkin-Shahak said tanks were moved into Karni because Palestinian protesters had closed the road to Israeli civilians who had a right "to move freely."
He said the only way to make sure Israelis could get to their homes "in a safe way" was to bring in tanks.
No agreement with Sharon for Barak
Barak met Sharon for two hours on Sunday but Lipkin-Shahak said no agreement had been reached.
Sharon has been seeking veto power to keep Barak from taking any new initiative in the peace process, should there be attempts to renew that process.
"I think it will be very difficult, but we are not going to have an emergency government in the coming few days," Lipkin-Shahak said.
Barak holds only 30 seats in the 120-member Knesset, and an alliance with Sharon's party would give him enough added support to maintain power.
Smaller parties pledge safety net
However, Israel's smaller religious parties -- including Shas, which has refused to join Barak's proposed government -- said they would not work against Barak during the Israeli-Palestinian clashes. Religious party leaders referred to the stance as a safety net for Barak.
Palestinians and left-wing Israelis have said that allowing Sharon in the government would deal a fatal blow to the peace process.
"If Mr. Sharon is in the government, we all know the peace process will be over," Saeb Erakat, chief Palestinian negotiator, told CNN. "Now it's up to Mr. Barak to take the real road for peace and tell the Palestinians -- who are his neighbors -- he has no interest in killing us."
Erakat called on Barak to end Israel's "occupation of Palestinian territory."
Erakat also called for a "grand peace initiative" to ensure "ending Israeli occupation."
He said, "We want Mr. Barak to stop using the tanks, the missiles. It is not the language he should address the Palestinians.
"He should address the Palestinians telling them, 'We know, we do realize that this occupation can't be maintained. We understand and appreciate the Palestinian aspiration for freedom.'"
Arafat ready to continue the fight
Speaking on Sunday at the dedication of a new Palestinian hospital, Arafat declared he would continue to fight for Palestinian control of Jerusalem.
"Our people will remain steadfast until a boy or a girl holds the flag of Palestine over Jerusalem, the capital of our Palestinian state," Arafat said.
Both Israel and the Palestinians claim Jerusalem as their traditional capital.
Meanwhile, in Baghdad, Iraq, eight Palestinians wounded in clashes with Israelis arrived on an aircraft called "Jerusalem" to a heroes' welcome.
The eight are to be treated in an Iraqi hospital with medical supplies Iraq often says are in short supply because of United Nations sanctions against Iraq.
Omid Midhat Mubarak, Iraq's health minister, said, "We are still looking forward to receiving more and more of them in this very special hospital which is equipped completely with all that we have, because we are sharing what we have with our brothers in Palestine."
Baghdad is also sharing food. Despite its claims that the sanctions kill thousands of Iraqi children, Iraq sent imported baby-milk powder to the Palestinians.
The Iraqi government said it also sent five tons of medicine back on the plane that brought the wounded.
"God willing, Iraqis will come back with us to Jerusalem, and we will liberate Palestine together," said 18-year-old Mahmoud Harris, one of the injured Palestinians.
The youngest casualty, 10-year-old Basil, who said he was shot in the stomach after throwing a rock, had a simpler wish: "To go back alive."
Israelis, Palestinians mark one month of clashes
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