Israel pulls back from Netzarim checkpoint
JERUSALEM -- As Palestinians and Israelis watched each other on Thursday for signs that their truce was being implemented, at least three more people were killed in new violence.
At Netzarim Junction in Gaza, Israeli troops began pulling back from a checkpoint, allowing traffic there to flow freely for the first time in weeks.
Israeli Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer announced late Wednesday he had ordered the Israel Defense Forces to begin implementing the terms of a truce brokered by U.S. CIA Director George Tenet.
Ben-Eliezer said that as Palestinians responded to the terms of the deal, Israel would ease closures of Palestinian-controlled territories.
In one of two new violent incidents, Israeli police said Thursday a Palestinian agent and an Israeli security official were killed in what was described as a shootout.
Israeli police said the security official and the Palestinian agent had met clandestinely when the gunfight broke out.
The incident happened on the outskirts of Jerusalem on Tunnel Road, which leads to Bethlehem.
The Israeli police said the Palestinian agent shot the security official and another Israeli who was with him. The wounded Israeli, who was shot in the neck, then shot the Palestinian and killed him, they said.
In a separate incident, a Palestinian was killed and three others injured in what was described as a drive-by shooting at Mishor Adumim, halfway between Jerusalem and Jericho. A Jewish settler activist group claimed responsibility for the shooting.
But the Council of Jewish Communities in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza, an umbrella group for settlers, issued a statement shortly after the attack, saying: "Murder is murder, and if the act was perpetrated by a Jew, we condemn it and demand that justice be served."
On Wednesday both Israel and the Palestinians reluctantly agreed to accept a truce plan proposed by Tenet.
According to the sources, the truce says:
Israel must not initiate military incursions into Area A (any area controlled by the Palestinian Authority) and must not initiate attacks against Palestinian Authority targets.
The Israeli government must take action against Israelis who have committed illegal acts against Palestinians.
Israeli forces must re-deploy to the positions they held before the Israeli-Palestinian violence began in September 2000, and the military is to reduce checkpoints and border closings.
Palestinians must collect illegal weapons, including those in the hands of the Palestinian Authority, which is supposed to have only "light" arms -- no mortars, missiles or arsenals of weapons.
The Palestinian Authority must work to prevent the smuggling of weapons, must not produce or possess mortars and must work against the production of such weapons.
The Palestinian Authority must pass to Israel intelligence information concerning the planning of attacks against Israeli targets. The truce calls for the arrest of anyone planning such attacks.
Ben-Eliezer said that depending on the Palestinian response, Israel would implement the terms of the truce plan in three phases over the next week.
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