- The Washington Times - Saturday, December 8, 2001

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip Despite new Israeli air strikes in the Gaza Strip, U.S. envoy Gen. Anthony Zinni brokered talks between top Israeli and Palestinian security officials in an effort to end the cycle of violence.
"The discussion was constructive and focused on security, specifically practical steps to combat terror and violence," the U.S. Embassy said in a statement.
After a two-day lull, Israel renewed its military action against Palestinian security targets yesterday with an F-16 jet carrying out a raid on a police compound in Gaza, injuring 20. Also, two Palestinians were fatally shot by Israeli troops in the West Bank.
Israeli helicopter gunships attacked a Palestinian military compound in the southern Gaza Strip early today, Palestinian officials and witnesses said. The Israelis said the attacks were in response to suicide bombings in Jerusalem and Haifa.
An Israeli security official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said Israel had demanded that Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat wage a more effective fight against terrorists and stop those firing mortars at Jewish villages.
Israel said it would halt its military strikes when the attacks stop, the source said. Yesterday's meeting did not produce any agreement, but Israel agreed to an American request for another session next week.
A Palestinian official, who also spoke on the condition he not be named, said his side had reiterated its view that Israeli strikes and a clampdown on movement into and out of the Palestinian territories were hindering efforts to capture terrorists. He said the next meeting would be tomorrow.
The talks opened hours after Israel ended a two-day pause in military action, which officials had said was meant to give Mr. Arafat a chance to broaden his crackdown on Islamic militants.
Mr. Arafat's forces said they have arrested 180 militants since suicide attacks killed 25 persons last weekend. But Israel calls his efforts insufficient, saying police have rounded up low-level operators and left those masterminding the attacks at large.
Mr. Arafat told Israel's Channel One television that Palestinian police near the West Bank town of Jenin had arrested 17 of the 33 persons on a wanted list given to him by Gen. Zinni.
"If you want to see them, I will take you to see them," he said.
In a later interview on Israeli television Mr. Arafat yesterday accused the United States of pro-Israel bias.
"Dear God, who cares about the Americans," Mr. Arafat said, striking the air with his hand at his office in the West Bank city of Ramallah.
"The Americans are on your side and they give you everything," Mr. Arafat told Channel One television. "Who gave you the airplanes? The Americans. Who gave you the tanks? The Americans."
Israeli Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer said after the morning raid in Gaza that Mr. Arafat "needs to do more." He told Army Radio, "We are facing a constant threat of terrorists trying to get into Israel."
Yesterday's air strike destroyed two buildings at the Palestinian police headquarters in Gaza City. At least 20 wounded 18 police and two civilians were treated at Shifa Hospital.

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