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Monday, 24 June, 2002, 07:11 GMT 08:11 UK
Analysis: Israeli occupations
Israeli tank outside Yasser Arafat's headquarters in Ramallah
The once shocking incursions are now common

Israel's reoccupation of Palestinian towns has proved one key point here - what was once unthinkable has now become almost routine.

It has taken about a year for this to happen.

In April 2001, Israeli forces moved into one small area of land inside the Gaza Strip.

That incursion was condemned internationally - the United States called it provocative. Two months ago, during Israel's offensive across the West Bank, the USA called on Israel to withdraw immediately.

Orders ignored

But it did not, and now Israeli forces are back in most Palestinian towns and the condemnation from many parts has died down.

Ariel Sharon
Sharon: Not taking orders
The United States says that Israel has the right to defend itself, to prevent further suicide bombings.

The Bush administration has realised one thing - Israel's Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, will not take orders.

What's more, he will often refuse to take advice and for now Israel says its forces will stay in Palestinian areas until suicide attacks come to an end.

Bush speech

So where does this leave any sort of peace process?

All sorts of plans have come and gone during the past year and for now, what diplomatic hope there still is focuses on a speech due to be delivered at some point by President Bush.

In that speech, Mr Bush is expected to outline a timetable towards a final settlement.

The White House says the speech has been delayed until an appropriate time.

The question now, with violence and military action going on every day, is when will there ever be an appropriate time?


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24 Jun 02 | Middle East
23 Jun 02 | Middle East
21 Jun 02 | Middle East
02 Dec 01 | profiles
18 Jun 02 | Middle East
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