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Rabin Rejects Reported Accord Between Arafat, Fundamentalists

Israel this week rejected an agreement that was reportedly reached between the Palestinian Authority and its fundamentalist opposition.

Under the reported terms of that agreement, the self-rule government would release fundamentalist activists in exchange for an end to terror attacks against Israelis inside the autonomous ares.

But Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin said Sunday that under any such agreement, the Hamas and Islamic Jihad fundamentalist groups would have a declare and end to all terror attacks against Israelis — not only in the self-rule zones, but throughout the West Bank and within Israel as well.

“We will not accept any agreements between the Palestinian Authority and extremist terrorists — the Islamic Jihad and Hamas — if they do not (stop) all activities inside the autonomy and outside of it,” he said.

Rabin was speaking to reporters in Hebron, where a week earlier an undercover border police unit killed three Hamas terrorists who were believed to have been behind the deaths of at least six Israelis.

The killings of the three Hamas members sparked rioting over the weekend. A 17- year-old Palestinian was killed and five others wounded when Israel Defense Force troops opened fire on stone-throwers at the Kalandia refugee camp north of Jerusalem.

While in Hebron, Rabin was briefed by IDF officers about last week’s operation against the three Hamas members.

He also met with settler leaders, who said plans to withdraw the Israeli army from Palestinian population centers in the West Bank could endanger Jewish residents in the area. The withdrawal is scheduled to take place as part of the next phase of extending autonomy to the Palestinians, as called for under the terms of the self-rule accord.

But Rabin told the settler leaders that for the time being the withdrawal would not take place because of continuing terror attacks by fundamentalist groups opposed to the peace process.

Meanwhile, Israel Television reported that the Islamic Jihad denied having pledged to stop terror attacks against Israelis.

An Islamic Jihad spokesman, attributing the announcement of an agreement to the Palestinian Authority, said contacts are continuing between members of the self-rule government and the fundamentalist opposition in an effort to calm tension in the Gaza Strip.

Talks were reportedly held between the Palestinian Authority and officials from Hamas and the Islamic Jihad after the two groups launched separate suicide bombing attacks in Gaza on April 9, killing seven Israelis and an American woman who was studying in Israel.

The attacks brought renewed pressure by Israel on Arafat’s self-rule government to crack down on fundamentalist terror.

A subsequent crackdown by Arafat led to the detention of hundreds of militants, jail sentences for several fundamentalist activists and warnings of weapons confiscations. The crackdown led some militant leaders to warn of a violent confrontation with the Palestinian Authority.

The April 9 attack caused the government of Israel to impose a full closure on Gaza and the West Bank for the duration of the Passover holiday.

On Sunday, after the holiday ended, an Israeli army official said that nearly 27,000 Palestinians would be allowed into Israel beginning early Monday morning.

But the official said Israel would continue to impose a partial closure that went into effect after a suicide attack near Netanya in January that killed 21 Israelis. The partial closure will prevent some 33,000 Palestinians from working in Israel.

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