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Fatah: End attacks on civilians

Arafat's Fatah movement pledged to continue resisting Israeli military occupation of Palestinian territories.
Arafat's Fatah movement pledged to continue resisting Israeli military occupation of Palestinian territories.  

RAMALLAH, West Bank (CNN) -- Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's Fatah movement has called for a halt in attacks on Israeli civilians.

The group also said in a statement on Tuesday that it will try and prevent such killings. In addition, it called for the immediate resumption of negotiations.

It says: "In accordance with the higher interests of the Palestinian people, and with our moral values tolerant religions and belief; we, the Fatah movement reject and we will prevent any attacks against Israeli civilians."

But the statement also pledged to continue resisting the Israeli military occupation of Palestinian territories.

Fatah statement on attacks 
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The statement says Fatah remains "committed to our legitimate right to resist the occupation of our land occupied in 1967 ... with all legitimate means."

The Israeli government had no immediate reaction. Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres and Chief Palestinian Negotiator Saeb Erakat were scheduled to meet in Jerusalem to discuss security and actions to ease the lives of Palestinians.

Fatah's statement comes after Arafat told the Palestinian Legislative Council on Monday that Palestinians oppose all attacks on civilians. (Full Story)

The Israeli government had said in response to that speech that it wanted to see what concrete actions the Palestinians will take.

The Fatah statement is considered significant because it appears the group's leadership is returning to the position it held before the beginning of the Intifada by the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades -- the militant offshoot of Fatah -- in September 2000.

Palestinian sources said the leaders of the Al Aqsa had been consulted and had agreed to halt attacks on civilians.

Al Aqsa has been blamed for a number of suicide attacks, many of them carried out by Palestinian teen-agers.

In recent months, Fatah has attempted to strike a deal with two other Palestinian groups -- Hamas and Islamic Jihad -- to end attacks, but those groups have refused to agree.

The Fatah statement attempts to put pressure on other groups by saying, "We call on all Palestinian organizations to stop targeting Israeli civilians, in accordance with the interests of our people."

The statement adds: "We both must exclude children from the circle of this conflict."

The statement also pledges support for Arafat, "who is the symbol of Palestinian patriotism."

"We choose peace," says the statement, which calls on Israel to "work with us to put an end to the continuous suffering of the two peoples."




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