- Jan 10, 2002
There needs to be DE-Constructon... looks like the zionists are fvcking sh!t up again for the Peace Map
Posted on Mon, Jun. 23, 2003
Sharon defies peace plan's ban on settlement construction
By MARK LAVIE
The Associated Press
JERUSALEM - Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said Sunday that Israel could still build Jewish settlements, in defiance of a U.S.-backed peace plan.
Meanwhile, four Palestinian militants died late Sunday, apparently when a bomb they were planting went off in northern Gaza.
Sharon told his Cabinet that settlement construction in the West Bank and Gaza Strip should proceed quietly, a senior Cabinet official quoted the prime minister as saying. Israel TV's Channel 1 said Sharon told the ministers that settlement building "isn't part of the road map. It's my personal commitment."
Under the "road map" for peace, Israel would have to observe the building ban in the coming months after the Palestinians begin dismantling militias and Israel removes dozens of settlement outposts.
Sharon adviser Raanan Gissin said Israel would continue construction in built-up areas of settlements. Asked about the required freeze, he noted that the Cabinet, in voting on the plan, attached objections.
After the four militants died, Palestinian security officials said at first that Israeli tanks fired at a group of militants from the Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades. Three men were killed and four others were wounded in the northeast Gaza town of Beit Hanoun. Another died later in a hospital, doctors said.
Later, however, loudspeaker trucks drove through the area saying that the four died while "fulfilling their national duty," a phrase used in the past to announce accidental deaths.
Israeli military sources, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said Israeli forces did not fire tank shells. Instead, they said, the militants were on their way to plant a bomb and it went off prematurely, killing them.
Israeli forces have maintained a presence near Beit Hanoun for several weeks, trying to prevent Palestinians from firing rockets at a nearby Israeli town.
Early today, about 15 tanks entered the town of Qarara in central Gaza and surrounded the house of a Hamas leader, security officials said.
Mideast mediators, meanwhile, expressed concern over Israel's killing of Abdullah Kawasme, a local leader of the Hamas militant group in the West Bank city of Hebron.
Secretary of State Colin Powell said the killing Saturday could set back peace efforts, but he stopped short of directly criticizing it.
"We can't allow ourselves to be stopped because of these incidents," Powell said after meeting with other leading members of the so-called Quartet of mediators -- the United States, the United Nations, the European Union and Russia -- during an economic conference in Jordan.
The Quartet is trying to rescue the peace plan, buffeted by Mideast violence since its launch by President Bush on June 4.
The mediators said they deplore "brutal terror attacks against Israeli civilians" but also expressed "deep concern over Israeli military actions that result in the killing of innocent Palestinian and other civilians."
The statement did not refer to Israel's extrajudicial killings of wanted Palestinians, which have emerged as an obstacle to Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas' efforts to persuade militant groups to halt attacks. The armed groups have said they will agree to a truce only if Israel halts military strikes, including such killings.
Hamas leaders said Sunday that they would respond soon to the Egyptian-brokered cease-fire proposal. Palestinian Cabinet officials have said the response would come by today.
However, Hamas also threatened new attacks in response to the shooting of Kawasme, blamed by Israel for planning nine attacks that killed 35 Israelis.
"There will be a retaliation," Hamas spokesman Abdel Aziz Rantisi, who survived a recent Israeli missile strike against him, told reporters in Gaza.
Israel said Kawasme was a prime example of a "ticking bomb," an imminent threat of terror attacks. Palestinian officials accused Israel of trying to undermine truce efforts.
The "road map" starts with a halt to violence, a crackdown on militant groups and the dismantling of settlement outposts, and leads through three stages to a Palestinian state in 2005.
Regarding settlements, the plan says Israel must dismantle all outposts put up since March 1, 2001 -- more than 60, according to an anti-settlement watchdog group -- and freeze "all settlement activity."
Gissin said the demand to freeze all construction is unrealistic.
"There can't be a total freeze on any construction, because you can't freeze life in those places," he said