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Fayyad: Israel limits P.A, development

Israel stymies efforts to achieve a pluralistic democracy and confront extremists, the Palestinian Authority prime minister said.

Salam Fayyad, speaking Monday in Washington, complained that he was frustrated by Israeli limitations on his government.

“Limitations imposed by Israel on where and how our forces can or cannot act limit our ability to bring security to our people and to fulfill our security commitments under the ‘road map,’ ” he said, referring to the U.S-brokered peace proposal.

Israel says its forces continue to act in the West Bank because P.A. forces are not yet properly equipped or trained to confront terrorists, and because some P.A. troops have been involved in attacks.

Fayyad said his government was prepared to return to the Gaza Strip and police its borders in a bid to stop Hamas-enabled rocket attacks on Israel and end the Israeli-imposed blockade spurred by the attacks.

He assumed office last summer when P.A. President Mahmoud Abbas sacked the Hamas government after Hamas routed forces loyal to Abbas from Gaza.

“Upon assuming office, and in the face of extreme adversity, my government immediately began enforcing a ban on armed militias in the West Bank,” he said in a speech sponsored by the American Task Force for Palestine.

Fayyad, who met with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice during his visit, presented a contrast between his U.S.-backed government and Hamas Islamists, who still control Gaza.

“The state we seek is one that must be open and democratic, based on the rule of law, respect for human rights, cultural sensitivity and religious tolerance,” he said.

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