Israeli tanks and troops moved into Ramallah, on March 29, and surrounded the

compound of Yasser Arafat. Meanwhile the Arab nations were voting to commit

themselves to a plan that would allow for normal relations with Israel in return

for Israel returning to pre-1967 borders.

After a cabinet meeting by Israeli officials, the decision was made to isolate

Arafat. Gun battles led to the death of two Israeli soldiers and five Palestinians;

numerous Palestinians were wounded as well.

While Arafat did declare his willingness to initiate a cease-fire, a Palestinian

gunman shot and killed four Israelis in a settlement near the West Bank city

of Nablus. Arafat has made numerous offers of cease-fires and the Israel government

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is ‘fed up,’ according to Raanan Gissin, a spokesman for Prime Minister

Ariel Sharon.

The plan that was approved by the Arab nations was made at a meeting of the

Arab League that is currently meeting in Beirut, Lebanon. The return of Palestinian

refugees and the creation of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its

capital are also included in this plan.

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The plan was initially proposed by Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. This

proposal, which had the support from Libya and Iraq, is a departure from earlier

Arab peace attempts which included lists of belligerent demands.

The Israeli government has reacted negatively to the peace overture from the

Arab submit meeting (some believe that countries like Libya and Iraq agreed

to the peace overture only because they knew that Israel would never accept

the peace offer.) One Israeli government spokesman refereed to the plan as a

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‘nonstarter.’

Before the approval of the plan by the Arab League, Prime Minster Sharon said

in an interview that returning to the 1967 borders would destroy Israel. He

claims that while everyone is endorsing Saudi’#146;s plan, no one is asking

Israel for its opinions on the plan.

In Gaza City, a Hamas spokesman, Abdel Aziz Rantisi, said that the summit meeting

will not change anything for his group, which is dedicated to Israel’#146;s

destruction. He says that as long as there is Israel occupation of Palestinian,

there will be resistance.

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