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The BBC Jim Fish
"The ceasefire will first have to be tested on the ground"
 real 56k

Thursday, 5 October, 2000, 11:24 GMT 12:24 UK
Summit fails to end violence
Hebron clashes
An explosion of violence has followed months of deadlock
US-sponsored crisis talks have taken place in Egypt to quell an uprising in the West Bank and Gaza, but without the participation of Israel's prime minister, Ehud Barak.

Mr Barak flew straight to Israel after five hours of ill-tempered talks broke down in the French capital Paris with no agreement to end the violence.


As far as Israel is concerned, negotiations on this issue are finished

Israeli official
However, another ceasefire has been declared on the ground and Israel has withdrawn some tanks and troops from the entrances to Palestinian towns.

More than 70 people - almost all of them Arabs - have been killed and more than 1,000 have been injured in a week-long wave of violence following months of deadlock in the Middle East peace process.

Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who hosted the Paris talks, and Mr Arafat flew to Egypt for three-way with President Hosni Mubarak.

Albright, Laila Shahid (Palestinian mission head in Paris) and Arafat
No smiles in Paris: Albright and Arafat now go to Egypt
Correspondents described the Paris round as some of the bleakest and most angry diplomatic exchanges of recent years.

A key sticking point has been the Palestinian demand for an international inquiry into the causes of the violence.

BBC correspondent Barbara Plett in Jerusalem says it is not clear whether Thursday's ceasefire, agreed between the Israeli army and Palestinian security authorities, would hold.


An Israeli army statement said the army would return to the permanent positions that were occupied before the fighting began, while the Palestinians promised to maintain a ceasefire.

Earlier ceasefires have quickly broken down, apparently after unarmed Palestinians attacked the Israeli forces with stones and Molotov cocktails and were met with live fire.

The violence started after right-wing Israeli politician Ariel Sharon toured the holiest Islamic site in Jerusalem last Thursday in a move described as highly provocative by Palestinians.


We rejected the idea of the Palestinians and Israelis sharing responsibility for the massacres

Palestinian official Yasser Abed Rabbo
Latest casualties have included a nine-year-old Palestinian boy, Muhammad Abu Assi, who was killed by Israeli fire in Gaza on Wednesday.

Israel radio reported various shooting incidents late into Wednesday night, with one Palestinian reported dead after heavy exchanges of fire in Hebron.

The radio said two forest fires in northern Israel were rekindled, apparently by supporters of the uprising.

There are also reports of Israeli soldiers shooting at demonstrators at Netzarim junction in Gaza, the scene of some of the worst clashes, where Israeli helicopter gunships fired rockets at targets on the ground on Wednesday.

Face off

Dead boy
Muhammad Abu Assi: Another young victim at Netzarim junction
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has already arrived at the resort of Sharm el-Sheikh for the talks with Mr Arafat and Mrs Albright.

A few hours earlier, in an extraordinary public spat, Mr Arafat had been prevented from leaving the US ambassador's residence, where the talks were being held.

He rushed out of the residence and jumped into his car shouting: "This is humiliation. I cannot accept it!"

However Mrs Albright ran out after him and shouted to the US marine guards to shut the gates to stop him from leaving.

Mr Arafat was eventually persuaded to leave his car and return to the talks, but to no avail.

Demands

Israel has accused the Palestinian leadership of instigating pre-meditated violence in the occupied territories and rejected Palestinian demands for an independent commission to investigate the clashes.

Ministers said there was no need for a commission that would be "biased against Israel".

Mr Barak then demanded the investigation be carried out by Israeli and Palestinian security experts with US mediation.

The Palestinians want a commission with French and Egyptian representatives that will establish blame for the unrest and propose ways to avoid another outburst in future.

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See also:

05 Oct 00 | Middle East
Analysis: Barak's hopes fade
04 Oct 00 | Middle East
In pictures: Tensions run high
04 Oct 00 | Middle East
Eyewitness: Anger and mourning in Gaza
03 Oct 00 | Middle East
Israel 'sorry' for killing boy
01 Oct 00 | Middle East
Arab world condemns Israel
04 Oct 00 | Middle East
Feelings run high at the UN
02 Oct 00 | Media reports
Israel apportions blame
02 Oct 00 | Middle East
Mubarak backs calls for Arab summit
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