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Palestinians Rebuff Offer of Protection

The Israel Defense Force has offered protection to the 14 members of the Palestinian delegation who attended the Madrid peace conference.

But the offers were turned down, despite threats against the Palestinians by Islamic extremists, Ha’aretz reported Monday.

“All we need is that Israeli defense personnel accompany us, or post guard over us,” one of the Palestinian leaders was quoted as saying.

Extremist movements opposed to the peace process have been circulating leaflets in the West Bank and Gaza Strip urging attacks on the Palestinians who met with Israelis at Madrid.

In fact, death threats were made by leaflet even before the conference, directed at the most prominent Palestinians — Faisal Husseini and Hanan Ashrawi — who were not part of the official negotiating team.

Palestinian sources explained that the acceptance of Israeli protection would be interpreted by the Palestinian public as cooperation with the authorities.

The IDF proposed posting guards at the homes of the Palestinian delegates, all of whom live in the territories.

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