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The BBC's Hilary Andersson
"The two sides are going to have to go back to square one"
 real 56k

Tuesday, 16 January, 2001, 16:03 GMT
Mid-East talks restart
Mourners at the funeral of settler Roni Tzalah
Mourners at the funeral of settler Roni Tzalah
Israeli and Palestinian negotiators have held new talks at an undisclosed location despite increased tension in the Gaza Strip.

The meeting was expected to continue last week's discussion of proposals by US President Bill Clinton involving radical compromises as the basis for a possible deal.

According to Israeli officials, there are to be separate security talks later on Tuesday.

Tensions have been high after the Israeli army sealed off the Gaza Strip on Monday, following the killing of a Jewish settler on Sunday.

Retaliation

Retaliatory attacks on Palestinian property by other settlers were reported to have continued on Tuesday.

Palestinian property was set alight in settler revenge attacks
Palestinian property was set alight in settler revenge attacks
Palestinian witnesses said fruit orchards were bulldozed, greenhouses destroyed and an attempt made to set fire to a mosque.

"They spread terror in al-Mawasi village. They were like a crazy herd of cows," Colonel Khaled Abu al-Ula, head of military liaison with Israel in the southern Gaza Strip told the Reuters news agency.

Israeli police said they arrested two settlers on Monday on suspicion of arson.

Palestinian negotiators said they wanted the settlers' actions put on the talks' agenda.

Last week's successful talks saw Israel loosening its tight controls on access to Gaza. But the process was abruptly put in reverse with Gaza once again sealed off on Monday.

Search

The new shutdown came hours after Israeli troops found the body of Roni Tzalah in a field near the Palestinian-controlled town of Khan Younis.

Reported American proposals
Israel to concede sovereignty over much of East Jerusalem and the Al-Aqsa mosque
Palestinians give up the right of return for Palestinian refugees
Palestinian state on 95% of the West Bank and 100% of the Gaza Strip
The settler had been abducted outside the Kfar Yam settlement on Sunday, prompting a massive search by Israeli forces.

A preliminary Israeli investigation said three or four Palestinians had taken him from his greenhouse and bundled him into his own car. The vehicle was later found burnt out in a Palestinian-controlled area.

A group affiliated to the extremist Islamic group Hamas has claimed responsibility for killing the settler.

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See also:

13 Jan 01 | Middle East
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23 Oct 00 | Middle East
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