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White House, State Department Deplore Violence on the West Bank

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The White House and the State Department today both deplored the “violence”on the West Bank over the weekend and called on all concerned to do everything to “calm the situation.”

However, State Department spokesman Dean Fischer refused to reveal whether the United States had made any special comments to the Israeli government about the situation. But he noted that the U.S. was in “very frequent, almost constant” contact with the Israeli government through the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv.

In response to a question about the shooting of an Arab youth and the wounding of others by the Israeli army over the weekend, Fischer read the following statement: “We are following the increased confrontation and violence on the West Bank with particular concern. We deeply regret the bloodshed that has occurred, particularly the tragic loss of life. We hope that all those in a position to do so will exert their best efforts to calm the situation. We are especially concerned about the use of lethal and potentially lethal force.”

Earlier White House deputy press secretary Larry Speakes told reporters: “We are concerned over the violence in the region. We deeply regret the loss of life over the weekend.” He added: “We want to reemphasize the need to move chead with the Camp David process and deal with the autonomy issue.”

Fischer indicated that the U.S. does not believe the incidents on the West Bank will hamper the autonomy talks between Israel and Egypt. He said that the U.S. believes “progress” can be mode. Fischer also noted that the U.S. considers as a “bilateral” problem the dispute between Israel and Egypt over Egypt’s refusal to hold the autonomy talks in Jerusalem and the unresolved question over the border between Israel and Egypt over Israel’s withdrawal from the Sinai April 25. But he noted that the U.S. is in frequent consultations on various autonomy issues with Israel and Egypt.

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