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Israeli president proposes resuming direct occupation of Gaza Strip

April 9, 2008 1:02 P.M. (Updated: April 9, 2008 1:02 P.M.)
Bethlehem - Ma'an - Israeli President Shimon Peres called on Wednesday for the Israeli military to reoccupy the Gaza Strip in order to stop barrages of homemade projectiles fired by Palestinian fighters into neighboring Israeli towns.

Israeli radio reported that Peres remarked, in a meeting with European diplomats, that he does not believe that Palestinians are interested in peace, and that direct occupation will stop Palestinian projectiles.

"Ongoing peace talks with the Palestinian leadership will last very long as the Palestinians are not seriously seeking an agreement with Israel," Peres added.

Israel withdrew its forces from Gaza's streets in as a part of the 1994 interim agreement, but maintains control over the territory's borders, airspace, territorial waters, and tax system. In addition Israeli forces frequently invade the Strip.

Peres also said that the return of Palestinian refugees displaced during the creation of Israel in 1948 would result in "demographic suicide" because it would render Israel a non-Jewish majority state.

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