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Wednesday, 13 June, 2001, 11:00 GMT 12:00 UK
Israeli press sceptical on truce
Jewish settlers hold up a poster Mr Arafat with a gun that reads 'Aiming at Jerusalem'
Israelis say Mr Arafat is behind the violence
From Caroline Wyatt in Jerusalem

The morning news here in Israel has been dominated by one story - the last-minute agreement by the Palestinians to the American blueprint for a ceasefire, brokered by the director of the CIA, George Tenet.

Israel had already agreed to the deal, though the papers make clear Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon only did so with reluctance.

Ha'aretz says that the Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat made his decision after five-and-a-half hours of talks with George Tenet.

Mr Tenet had apparently been in a car on his way back to the airport - planning to leave the country - when Mr Arafat summoned him back.

Despite the deal, the Israeli papers are sceptical as to whether the ceasefire will hold.

They say the onus is now on Mr Arafat to stop the violence before Israel will relax its security measures.

Interpretation

Already though, it is clear that the two sides may be interpreting the document they have agreed to rather differently.

The papers say Israel expects the Palestinian leader to start arresting Islamic militants immediately - a move Mr Arafat will find hard to sell to his own people.

Only after that, says Ha'aretz, would Israel be willing to implement its side of the deal.

That will include lifting its closure of the West Bank and Gaza Strip - a key Palestinian demand since Israel stopped the free movement of Palestinians in and out of Israel proper when the new Intifada began in September.

The other main story on the front pages here shows just how hard this ceasefire will be to put into action on the ground.

All the papers carry a report of the killing of a Greek Orthodox monk late on Tuesday by Palestinian gunmen.

The monk was driving a car with Israeli number plates when he came under fire.

Ma'ariv says he was mistaken for a Jewish settler.

Reconciliation

An editorial in the Jerusalem Post questions whether - after the recent violence - reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians is actually possible - a pessimistic view echoed by other papers.

The English edition of Ha'aretz also carries a front page story on an investigation into the killing last weekend of three Palestinian women by shells fired from an Israeli tank into the Gaza Strip.

Israeli security sources say it was a serious mistake - and that the commanding officers may be disciplined.

However, there is no comment on the type of tank shell used by the Israeli army.

The women were killed by a type of shell which sprays nail-like darts called flechettes, currently banned in international conflicts.

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See also:

13 Jun 01 | Middle East
Work starts on Middle East truce
13 Jun 01 | Middle East
Kofi Annan pushes for Mid-East peace
12 Jun 01 | Middle East
Hardliners disapprove of ceasefire plan
06 Jun 01 | Middle East
CIA back centre stage in Mid-East
06 Jun 01 | Middle East
Viewpoint: Gazans fear for the future
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