Israeli strikes 'sabotage': Arafat
PALESTINIAN leader Yasser Arafat accused Israel of attempting to "sabotage" truce talks today by mounting a wave of land, sea and air attacks on Palestinian positions.
"This is intended to sabotage the meeting" with Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres, Arafat said after meeting with the Russian Middle East envoy Andrei Vdovin in Gaza. "It is an escalation to continue to implement their plan for 'oranim'," he said using the Hebrew word for hell.
Israel today mounted a series of assaults along the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. Arafat's top aide, Nabil Abu Rudeina, also accused Israel of attempting to sabotage the meeting with Peres.
"Arafat has told the Europeans and Americans that we were ready to hold such a meeting, while the Israelis are doing all they can to sabotage it,", he said.
"The Israeli government is continuing in its attempts to kill any attempt to save the peace process, whether it be American or European," he added.
The army confirmed its triple attack against the Gaza Strip and said it was in retaliation for a grenade attack against an Israeli position near the Erez crossing point between Israel and the northern Gaza Strip which injured two Israeli border guards a day earlier.
The attacks came a day after Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon cancelled planned talks between Arafat and Peres set for tomorrow, saying it would be "inappropriate" after the terrorist attacks which killed thousands in the United States.
A meeting of the Palestinian security council yesterday accused Israel of attempting to "exploit" the US terrorist tragedy by increasing "its aggression against the Palestinians," security sources said.
Israel cancels peace talks
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon called off a meeting between Foreign Minister Shimon Peres and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat on Friday amid increasing violence in the occupied territories.
The move temporarily ended weeks of preparations for the much-anticipated peace talks, despite calls by US Secretary of State Colin Powell for the meeting to go ahead and an earlier green-light from Mr Sharon for a negotiated ceasefire.
As the death toll for the year-old Palestinian uprising against Israeli occupation climbed to 803, tension was palpable in Israel and the Palestinian territories three days after the terrorist attack which shocked and galvanised the US.
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