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Fayyad threatens to withdraw Palestinian security forces in protest of Israeli incursions

July 22, 2008 8:01 P.M. (Updated: July 22, 2008 8:01 P.M.)
Ramallah - Ma'an - Palestinian caretaker Prime Minister Salam Fayyad threatened on Tuesday to withdraw the Palestinian Authority's (PA) security forces from Palestinian cities if Israel continues its military incursions in areas of PA control.

Fayyad said at a press conference with members of the Palestinian Legislative Council in Ramallah that the PA may give up on its plan to reassert control in West Bank towns in protest of Israeli infringement on its authority.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas had made the threat earlier on Tuesday in remarks carried on the Palestinian official news agency WAFA.

"We have security responsibilities in the Palestinian areas, especially Area A, and Israel continues to interfere in the Palestinian Authority. They increased their attacks in these areas, especially in Nablus," Fayyad said.

Israel has invaded Nablus several times over the last two weeks, seeking to shut down charities, religious institutions, and businesses it says are linked to Hamas. Fayyad said that these incursions threaten to reverse the "concrete security gains" made in Nablus in other cities.

Area A of the West Bank was first designated under the Oslo Interim Agreement in 1994 to come under the full control of the PA.

Fayyad noted that the US-backed initiative for peace launched in November at the Annapolis international summit includes not only political negotiations between the PA and Israel, but also the implementation on the ground of the Road Map peace plan. The US-proposed road map envisions Palestinian security forces gradually filling the vacuum, enabling Israeli forces to withdraw.

Earlier Fayyad met with members of the Legislative Council to discuss the economic and security situation in Palestine.

In his remarks on Tuesday, Fayyad urged international donors to make good on funds they pledged to the PA. He also called on Europe to put pressure on Israel to halt construction of illegal settlements in the West Bank in accordance with the Road Map.

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