- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 30, 2002

JERUSALEM Israel warned yesterday that it will press ahead with daily raids on Palestinian areas after three Israelis were killed in the West Bank, and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat sped up reforms by adopting a Basic Law defining his powers.
In Cairo, U.S. Middle East envoy William Burns announced the opening of what he called Washington's "three-track" strategy to revive peace talks.
A senior Israeli official close to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said after a Cabinet session focused on the latest attacks that "there will be frequent raids to stop the suicide attackers and shooters."
Incursions and brief reoccupations of towns have increased since Israel's West Bank campaign last month and are based largely on intelligence extracted from militants caught in that operation, he said.
In the latest violence, three Orthodox Jewish students were killed by an Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade gunman who broke into the Jewish settlement of Itmar near the West Bank town of Nablus late Tuesday.
The gunman, whose organization is linked to Mr. Arafat's Fatah movement, was fatally shot.
As pressure rose on Mr. Arafat to restructure his security forces to prevent more attacks, an official said the Palestinian leader had finally signed a Basic Law, five years after his parliament adopted the de facto constitution defining his powers.
Mr. Arafat signed the law into effect late Tuesday, the head of the Palestinian Legal Committee, Abdul Karim Abu Salah, said in an interview.
The Basic Law, the constitution defining the powers of Mr. Arafat's executive authority and the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), or parliament, was passed almost unanimously by the PLC's 88 members in October 1997.
The Palestinians are also due to announce a new Cabinet lineup in the coming days, with the number of ministers reduced to about 20 from the current 32.


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