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World - Middle East

Two bombs shatter Mideast peace hours after agreement signed

A bomb killed the occupants of a car in the northern Israeli town of Tiberias

Important points in the revised Wye River accord
  • Israel will relinquish another 11 percent of the West Bank to Palestinian control over five months, giving the Palestinian Authority complete or partial control of 42 percent of the territory.

  • Israel will release 350 prisoners -- 200 immediately and another 150 in October.

  • The two sides will establish a framework for final peace talks by February 15, 2000, with a goal of signing a permanent accord by September 2000.

  • The Palestinians can begin building their own seaport in Gaza.

  • Israel will guarantee safe passage corridors for Palestinians between Gaza and the West Bank.

  • The Palestinians will implement security commitments, including the collection of illegal firearms, the arrest or detention of Palestinian fugitives and providing Israel the names of all Palestinian police.

  • MESSAGE BOARDS:

    Mideast peace

     ALSO:

    VIDEO
    CNN's Jerrold Kessel reports hard-liners are unhappy on both sides.
    Windows Media 28K 80K
     

    September 5, 1999
    Web posted at: 12:54 p.m. EDT (1654 GMT)


    In this story:

    Agreement breaks negotiation deadlock

    Hard-liners unhappy on both sides

    RELATED STORIES, SITES icon



    TIBERIAS, Israel (CNN) -- Three people died in two explosions in Israel on Sunday, less than a day after Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat signed a revamped land-for-security accord.

    A suspected car bomb killed two people and injured four -- one critically -- in the northern Israeli resort town Tiberias. A similar explosion, about 20 minutes later and 50 miles (80 km) away, killed one person in the Mediterranean coastal city of Haifa.

    Police said they believed the Tiberias explosion occurred in a car traveling down a busy street and that the two dead people were both occupants of the vehicle. The four wounded were all pedestrians.

    There was no clear indication that the explosion was a terrorist act related to the peace process. But both hard-line Israelis and Palestinians oppose the new agreement, and Islamic extremists have threatened to escalate violence in the wake of the signing.

    Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat told CNN on Sunday that the Palestinian Authority was "firm in its policy of zero tolerance to terror."

    "I hope that the enemies of peace will not resort to such activities," Erakat said. "We are determined to continue. I hope these enemies of peace will be stopped."

    A series of bus bombings helped cripple the peace process in 1996 and led to the election of hard-liner Benjamin Netanyahu as Israel's prime minister. Barak, campaigning on promises to reinvigorate the process, defeated Netanyahu in elections earlier this year.

    Agreement breaks negotiation deadlock

    The blasts came shortly after Israel's Cabinet ratified the updated Wye River land-for-security accord, which Barak and Arafat signed Sunday in Egypt.

    Barak and Arafat ended months of stalled negotiations by putting their names to the agreement in front of U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Jordan's King Abdullah II and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. Mubarak who applauded as the two men signed the agreement and embraced.

    "The people of the Middle East are ready for the dawn of a new era," Barak said after the signing. "I believe it is our duty, leaders of all parties, to pave the way."

    Arafat added, "We assert, as we always promised, that we respect and implement our commitments."

    Sunday's Cabinet vote was 21-2 in favor of the agreement --Interior Minister Natan Sharansky of the Russian immigrant Yisrael Ba-Aliyah party and Construction Minister Yitzhak Levy of the National Religious Party voted against the accord.

    Barak will now defend the agreement before the Knesset, Israel's parliament, where a stiffer fight was expected. But Barak's coalition holds a 73-47 majority in parliament, and implementation is expected to begin by next weekend.

    Hard-liners unhappy on both sides

    Struggle for Peace
     
    . . . .

    News:

  • Wye River Memorandum

    Background:

  • Mideast Timeline
  • The West Bank in Brief
  • Key Players

    Maps:

  • Middle East
  • Israel
  • Land-for-peace deal

    Interactive:
  • Message board


  •  

    Hard-line Israeli and Palestinian activists each accused their respective leaders of giving too many concessions. Jewish settlers living on occupied land in the West Bank condemned the deal, saying it would place them at risk.

    "Barak deserves a medal of honor for his incredible success in making a dangerous agreement worse," Uri Ariel, the mayor of Beit El settlement, said in a statement.

    Outside Bethlehem, young Palestinians burned a model of an Israeli prison and threw stones at Israeli troops, slightly injuring a press photographer. Sheik Ahmed Yassin, the spiritual head of the militant Islamic group Hamas, dismissed the agreement as "concessions to Israeli and American pressure. All that served is Israeli security."

    Serious political opposition to the agreement has already surfaced. United Torah Judaism, an ultra-conservative religious party, threatened Saturday to quit Israel's coalition government -- in part because negotiations with the Palestinians took place on the Sabbath.

    Correspondent Jerrold Kessel contributed to this report.


    RELATED STORIES:
    Israelis, Palestinians break deadlock on Wye River accord
    September 4, 1999
    Israel, Palestinians agree on new Mideast accord
    September 3, 1999
    Albright urges Israeli-Palestinian deal
    September 2, 1999
    Mideast talks clouded by pessimism
    September 1, 1999
    Mideast talks yield optimism
    August 30, 1999


    RELATED SITES:
    Israel's Institutions of Government
    Office of the Israeli Prime Minister
    The Middle East Network Information Center
    Palestinian National Authority
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