Mideast clashes continue despite Arafat's cease-fire order

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Mideast clashes continue despite Arafat's cease-fire order

Palestinian leader tells Fatah activists not to shoot at Israelis November 15, 2000 Web posted at: 11:53 a.m. EST (1653 GMT)

In this story:

Gunshots, burned vehicles

Israeli Cabinet to discuss violence

CNN Correspondents Tom Mintier and Jerrold Kessel contributed to this report.

GAZA CITY (CNN) -- Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat ordered Fatah activists to stop firing on Israelis, but clashes in the West Bank and Gaza continued Wednesday and left at least eight Palestinians dead.

Arafat's cease-fire order to Fatah was issued overnight, a senior Palestinian official told CNN on Wednesday. Fatah had been calling for a new Palestinian uprising against Israel.

The cease-fire order came after a phone call from U.S. President Bill Clinton urging Arafat to "take immediate steps to end the violence."

VIDEO CNN's Rula Amin reports that talk of peace is growing the Mideast even as both sides continue to accuse each other (November 14)

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-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- CNN's Jerrold Kessel reports more violent deaths in the Mideast and an apparent change in the nature of the conflict (November 14)

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-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The ninth summit of the Organization of the Islamic Conference ended a day early with calls to cut ties with Israel. CNN's Jane Arraf reports (November 14)

Play video (QuickTime, Real or Windows Media) AUDIO Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak gives a statement concerning the Middle East crisis (November 13)

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Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat comments on measures taken by Israel Defense Forces (November 14)

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Israeli Foreign Minister Shlomo-Ben Ami comments on violence in the West Bank and Jerusalem (November 14)

625K/98 sec. AIFF or WAV sound MESSAGE BOARD Mideast peace ALSO Settlers' children mourn Israeli teacher killed in West Bank

By air, sea and land, Palestinians affected by Israeli quarantine

Arafat's order did not stop confrontations between Israelis and Palestinians on Wednesday. The Palestinian Red Crescent said three Palestinians died in Gaza, one was killed in Jericho, and four were killed in towns in the West Bank.

Six others were critically injured in the clashes, the Red Crescent Society said.

Gunshots, burned vehicles A five-story apartment building in the West Bank town of Ramallah was peppered with Israeli machine-gun fire after Palestinian gunshots came from the building.

Israeli troops also faced off with demonstrators at Ramallah who burned vehicles and hurled stones at troops in armored personnel carriers.

Since September 28, at least 238 people have been killed in violence in Israel and the territories. Among them were 201 Palestinians, 13 Israeli Arabs and 24 Israeli Jews.

Fatah is the core group within Arafat's Palestine Liberation Organization. It had called on Palestinians to begin an uprising on Wednesday and drive Israelis from land occupied in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war.

Wednesday's clashes came on the 12th anniversary of a declaration of Palestinian independence that Arafat made in Algeria in 1988, when he was still in exile.

Israeli Cabinet to discuss violence Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak called a meeting of his security Cabinet for Wednesday afternoon to discuss Israel's response to recent attacks that left four Israelis dead.

"Different ways of acting will be presented," said Israeli Army Chief of Staff Shaul Mofaz. "The army will act according to the decision of the Cabinet."

Israeli security forces have imposed a tight blockade on all Palestinian towns in the West Bank, allowing only vehicles carrying food, medicine or humanitarian aid to pass.

Members of the Israeli government continue to blame Arafat for the continuing violence.

"Who is behind it is Arafat. That's what's important because Arafat is controlling everything," said Cabinet minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer. "He controls the Hamas, he controls the Islamic Jihad. I don't imagine anything happening in the area without the blessing of Arafat."

But Chief Palestinian Negotiator Saeb Erakat, unable to leave his Jericho home because of the Israeli blockade, blamed Barak for furthering the conflict by cordoning off the Palestinian areas and keeping troops in the area.

"If he wants to see the future generations of Palestinians and Israelis living in peace, what are the forces doing in the West Bank and Gaza?" Erakat asked.

He said what needs to be done "immediately" is to "see that the international community will respond to (Palestinian Authority) President Arafat's request to see to it that we have international protection forces coming to the West Bank and Gaza."

Barak has rejected the Palestinian call for an outside security force, saying that it would "reward" Palestinian violence.


-- Martin Thompson (mthom1927@aol.com), November 15, 2000

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