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U.S. deadlines too tight -Israel


Israel said it would not be able to meet some of the deadlines set by the United States aimed at easing conditions in Palestinian areas and improving Israeli security. The deadlines, handed to the parties last week, were revealed by Ha’aretz on Friday. Most troubling, according to Ha’aretz, is a July 1 deadline for bus convoys between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. It would be hard to commit to such a project before Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was in control of security in the Palestinian areas, officials in Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s office told the newspaper. Mid-May deadlines to ease roadblock conditions in the West Bank were likelier, they said. Abbas’ deadline to stop rocket fire from Gaza into southern Israel is June 21, a date Ghassan Khatib, a former Palestinian Cabinet minister close to Abbas said was “possible, but difficult.” Rice is due to arrive in the region May 15 to review the deadlines. State Department spokesman Tom Casey said the dates were not binding but were just “suggestions.”

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