Yasser Arafat orders to stop mortar shelling of Jewish settlements

The leader of the Palestine national administration, Yasser Arafat, ordered to stop the mortar shilling of Jewish settlements in the Gaza Strip and arrest the commanders shelling them. The Israeli media that reported this on Friday refer to sources in the Palestine autonomy and Israeli secret services. It is noted that the Palestinian side made this step right after the end of a meeting of Israeli and Palestinian security services' representatives on the night of April 12 at the US ambassador's villa in Caesaria outside Tel-Aviv. According to some estimates, the Palestinians are concerned over the Israeli army's reaction to mortar shelling. It is supposed that in the opinion of the autonomy's leaders; it is wrong to conduct it from densely-populated Palestinian districts, the way its was done in recent days, since this jeopardizes the lives of peaceful civilians. But generally speaking, this order does not mean at all an end to the standoff, and even less so, an end to the intifada, which, the Palestinians stress, they are conducting against Israeli occupation. Indeed, already after Arafat's order, the shelling of Jewish settlements and the positions of the Israeli army on the territory of the Palestinian autonomy, and exchanges of fire between Palestinians and Israeli soldiers continued. In particular, last night there was a skirmish between on the West Bank of the Jordan in the area of Ramallah, and Thursday evening - near the so-called "tunnel motor-road", south of Jerusalem. The skirmish was preceded by the murder of a 14-year-old Palestinian teenager, who intended, as the Israeli side claims, to throw a bottle with the Molotov cocktail at a bus, which was passing by. In the Gaza Strip, there was an exchange of fire in the area of Gush-Khatif. In the south of Gaza, near the Sufa check-point a powerful bomb was exploded. No-one was killed.

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