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Monday, 23 July, 2001, 18:10 GMT 19:10 UK
Israel demands details on observers
Palestinian stone-throwers
Israel says monitors will not curb Palestinian violence
Israel says it wants further details about American proposals to send more CIA agents to monitor the ceasefire with the Palestinians before it decides whether to accept such a move.

The comments come after the United States gave its support for the first time last week - along with other G8 member states - to Palestinian calls for a foreign observer force to monitor the truce.

Israel has long resisted pressure to accept international observers, but Foreign Minister Shimon Peres says Israel might agree to a solely American delegation.

We were never against the idea that the CIA bring other monitors to help their work

Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres
The unrest claimed two more lives on Monday.

Israeli forces intercepted and killed a man who an Israeli official said was a suicide bomber carrying a bomb.

Earlier, a 15-year-old Palestinian was shot by Israeli troops in the town of Rafah in the Gaza Strip.

There had been clashes in the area earlier in the day, but residents said the area was quiet at the time of the shooting.

Mr Peres gave details on Israeli public television of his acceptance in principle of US monitors.

"We were never against the idea that the CIA bring other monitors to help their work, but we are against an international force," he told Israel public television on Monday.

Ariel Sharon
Sharon: International force is unacceptable
"If it is a question of American monitors, we don't have a problem," he added.

An unknown number of CIA agents already operates in Israel and the Palestinian territories, mainly monitoring on-off security co-operation between the two sides.

Ultimately, Israel's acceptance of a foreign delegation might hinge on its definition.

The BBC's Frank Gardner says that the distinction between monitors, observers and peace-keepers is hugely important to Israelis.

He says the concept of a large international observer force being deployed to keep peace between Israel and the Palestinians is anathema to most Israelis.

Funerals of Palestinians killed in a shooting attack
Diya Tmaizi is the youngest victim of fighting which erupted last September
They believe it would only restrain their security forces, while being incapable of checking potential bomb factories belonging to Palestinian militants.

Palestinians have long been calling on the United Nations Security Council to send a 2,000-strong force of UN military peacekeepers to protect Palestinian civilians.

The proposal for an unarmed military observer force, rather than a UN peacekeeping force, has been raised separately by Russia, France and the United Kingdom, and by foreign ministers at the G8 summit.

Any observer force would be expected to monitor violence, the observance of the ceasefire and liaise between Israeli security forces and the Palestinian police.

Suspects sought

Israeli police, meanwhile, have called two Jewish extremists in for questioning about an attack last week in which three Palestinians, including a three-month-old baby boy, were shot dead as they travelled in their car near the West Bank town of Hebron.

Security forces suspect the men are part of a group believed to be responsible for three other attacks on Palestinians as well.

The pair - Noam Federman and Itamar Ben-Gvir - have said they will not surrender.

"They called me in and I'm not going," Mr Federman said.

Israel remains on a high state of alert after Palestinian militants vowed to take revenge for the killings.

The BBC's Barnaby Mason
"The monitors would in effect oversee the implementation of the Mitchell Report"
See also:

19 Jul 01 | Middle East
US backs Mid-East observers
27 Jun 01 | Middle East
Arabs want US to push Israel
20 Jul 01 | Middle East
Palestinian rage over infant death
20 Jul 01 | Middle East
Killing hints at extremist revival
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