Truce talks in Israel called off

Tuesday, September 25, 2001

JERUSALEM -- Israel-Palestinian truce talks sought by the United States were again put off Monday after a Jewish woman was killed in a shooting attack in the West Bank.

Israel also took a step toward sealing itself off from Palestinians militants, closing off a swath of West Bank land, angering Palestinians and drawing U.N. criticism.

The United States wants truce talks to put a lid on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict while it concentrates on building an anti-terror coalition in response to the Sept. 11 attacks in New York and Washington.

But Israel again called off a meeting between Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres after the shooting death of the 28-year-old woman in the northern West Bank.

The militant Islamic Jihad, which has long opposed any peace moves with Israel, took responsibility for the early morning shooting.

Israel blamed Arafat, charging that he is not enforcing the cease-fire he declared last week. "The full responsibility for this murderous attack lies with Palestinian Authority," said Raanan Gissin, spokesman for Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

Sharon has demanded 48 hours without any attacks before he approves the meeting. It was originally set for Sunday, but Sharon called it off at the last minute because of Palestinian mortar attacks in Gaza.

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