RealNews

Israel agrees handover of cities

Israel has agreed to hand control of four West Bank cities back to the Palestinians, according to Palestinian officials. Israel has also agreed to permit Yasser Arafat to travel to the Gaza Strip to visit the grave of his sister Yousra, who died earlier this week and was buried in Gaza City, Israel TV reported. It would be the first time Mr Arafat left his besieged compound in Ramallah in more than a year and a half. Correspondents say a troop withdrawal and the removal of checkpoints might boost Palestinian popular support for the roadmap peace plan, at a time when it appears in serious trouble. The agreement to pull out from the cities – Ramallah, Tulkarm, Qalqilya and Jericho – was reportedly reached in a meeting on Friday between Israeli Defence Minister Shaul Mofaz and Palestinian Security Chief Mohammad Dahlan. “We have agreed on Israeli withdrawal from four Palestinian cities in the West Bank in the coming two weeks,” Mr Dahlan said, quoted by AFP news agency. He described his meeting with Mr Mofaz as “very constructive”. Full Story

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