Israel promises to ease restrictions on West Bank

March 27th, 2008 - 10:51 pm ICT by admin  

RIA Novosti
Tel Aviv, March 27 (RIA Novosti) Israel has said it will ease restrictions on the West Bank without compromising the country’s security. Defence Minister Ehud Barak conveyed this during his talks here with Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.

“Barak has confirmed to the Palestinian premier that Israel intends to ease restrictions in regard to the West Bank population of the Jordan River, while maintaining security for Israeli citizens as a priority,” the ministry said in a statement.

President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah party controls the West Bank after being ousted by rival Hamas from the Gaza Strip last June. Both the sides failed to resolve their differences during talks brokered by Egypt, but agreed to start further dialogue in early April.

Abbas is insisting that Hamas should hand over control of the Gaza Strip as a pre-condition for further talks.

Israeli troops ended a devastating offensive in the Gaza Strip in early March, which saw 120 Palestinians killed, many of them women and children. Israel said the offensive was in response to continued rocket attacks on Israeli border towns from the Gaza Strip.

Although Israel and the radical movement in Gaza have officially denied a ceasefire agreement has been reached, there has been a sharp decline in rocket attacks in recent weeks.
RIA Novosti

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