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World - Middle East

Palestinians threaten to end talks with Israel


Syria's Assad rules out any exchange of land for peace

In this story:

August 1, 1998
Web posted at: 9:19 p.m. EDT (0119 GMT)

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (CNN) -- Palestinians will end the latest round of peace talks with Israel in the next few days unless the Israelis move toward accepting a U.S. proposal on the West Bank, a top Palestinian negotiator said Saturday.


In the five years since the Oslo peace accords were signed, the Israeli military has demolished more than 600 Palestinian homes in the West Bank. Many were knocked down because the government said they were built without a permit -- a permit that government critics say is almost impossible to obtain.

Now, some Israeli citizens -- incensed about the government's house-demolition policies -- have begun to fight back, by helping Palestinians rebuild their houses.

CNN's Rula Amin reports from the West Bank.

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The Palestinians are sticking with their position that Israel must accept the U.S. plan without alternations or conditions.

"The Israelis, up to this moment, did not present anything that was even close to the American initiative," Shaath said. "If the Israelis don't provide anything new ... we will go back to [U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine] Albright and tell her that we sat and we listened, but we did not get anything from the Israelis."

Assad: Golan Heights 'is Syrian Arab land'

In his speech in Damascus, Assad told his troops, "We want peace because it is a need for countries of the region and the world. We want peace because it provides a good climate for development and because it achieves prosperity for all."

But he made it clear that Syria would continue to insist on a full Israeli withdrawal from the strategically important Golan Heights, which the Jewish state captured in a war with Syria in 1967.

"The Golan is Syrian Arab land. It will continue to be so, even if our enemies do not want that," he said.

Assad accused Netanyahu of complicating the Middle East peace process, saying Israel's intransigence was threatening security in the region.

Reuters contributed to this report.

Struggle For Peace
B A C K G R O U N D   I    K E Y   P L A Y E R S   I   M A P S

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