Barak repeated his ultimatum

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak has repeated his threat to abandon peace talks with the Palestinians, if the wave of violence that has so far led to more than 80 deaths goes on beyond Monday night. In that event, he would instruct Israeli forces to - as he put it - act accordingly. Fresh violence broke out on Sunday in the Gaza Strip and West Bank where two Palestinians were reportedly shot dead by Jewish settlers. In northern Israel an Israeli was killed when Palestinians threw a stone through his car window. A ceasefire is now in place in the Gaza Strip after meetings between Israeli, Palestinian and US officials. Israel shut down the Palestinian airport in Gaza following an attack on a van of Israeli workers in which seven people were injured, two seriously. Speaking at a news conference, in northern Israel near where three Israeli soldiers were kidnapped on Saturday by Lebanese-based Hezbollah militants, Mr Barak said peace would come one day. But if Palestinian leaders failed to calm the situation in the West Bank and Gaza, Israel would conclude that Yasser Arafat had abandoned the process of negotiation. BBC.

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