Tuesday, February 8, 2005

Abbas, Sharon hold their 1st talks in Sharm al-Shaykh, then each meets separately with Mubarak, King Abdallah of Jordan. Afterward, Abbas announces that “Palestinian will stop all acts of violence against all Israelis everywhere,” Sharon vows to “cease all military activity against all Palestinians anywhere,” including assassinations, to the extent that the Palestinians halt violence. Sharon announces a package of gestures to be implemented if quiet is maintained, including Israel’s turnover of security control for 5 West Bank cities, a prisoner release, easing restriction on Palestinian movement. Hamas, Islamic Jihad say that they will not officially sign onto the cease-fire, but will not abrogate it. (BBC, HA, MM, NYT, REU, WP, WT 2/8; AFP, ATL, AYM, HJ, ITAR-TASS, JAZ, MENA, QA, VOI, VOP 2/8, XIN 2/9 in WNC 2/9; CSM, MM, NYT, WP, WT 2/9; al-Quds 2/12 in WNC 2/13; PR 2/16; MEI 2/18)

The IDF reopens Qarni commercial crossing after a 4-wk. closure, allowing only about one-third of normal traffic through, limiting imports to basic goods and exports to flowers, tomatoes; raids, searches a secondary school in al-Khadir; conducts arrest raids in al-Mawasi; confiscates a strip of land 2 d. long and 350 m. wide to create a corridor linking Hebron’s Tal Rumayda settlement with Shuhada Street. Late in the evening, after the Sharm al-Shaykh summit, AMB gunmen fire on a Jewish settler vehicle in the West Bank, throw Molotov cocktails at IDF jeeps that arrive on the scene, causing no injuries. PA security forces find, seal 2 smugglers’ tunnels in Rafah. The NIHC protests the PA security forces’ arrest of 3 DFLP central comm. mbrs. on 2/5; demands the immediate release of Issam Abu Duqqah, who is still in custody. (HJ, VOI, YA 2/8 in WNC 2/9; WT 2/9; PCHR 2/10; PR 2/16)