Peres sees 'hope' after meeting with Arafat
CAIRO, Egypt (CNN) -- Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres left an unexpected meeting with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat on Sunday saying he had a "sense of hope" that a solution to Mideast troubles could be found.
"We didn't fly into generalities. We really tried to touch ground," Peres said after the 90-minute meeting. "Our position is that we don't negotiate under fire but we talk about how to stop fire."
Arafat, who shared the 1994 Nobel Peace Prize with Peres, left Cairo's Ittihadia Palace, where the meeting took place, with no comments to reporters. On his arrival in Cairo earlier in the day, he told reporters that Israeli must end the "criminal aggression occurring daily against our cities, against our streets and against our camps."
Peres told reporters that he had spoken with Arafat about "ways and means" to end the bitter fighting, and that he was leaving Cairo "with a sense that there is a hope to continue" efforts toward peace suggested in former U.S. Sen. George Mitchell's report on the region.
Peres and Arafat were in Cairo for separate meetings with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, who has proved a key player in peace moves amid nearly 10 months of Israeli-Palestinian clashes in which more than 600 people -- the vast majority Palestinian -- have been killed.
After his Sunday morning meeting with Mubarak, Peres stressed that "war was not an option," and that the peace process was still alive. Peres also said that the meeting with Arafat had been suggested by the Egyptian president, although sources in Mubarak's office initially said such a meeting was unlikely.
Arafat, who met the Egyptian leader before the meeting with Peres, has also spoken by telephone with U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell and German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, the Palestinian WAFA news agency reported.
More exchange of fire in Hebron
Meanwhile, Israeli tanks moved into the West Bank town of Hebron early Monday, destroying five Palestinian police posts, witnesses told the Associated Press.
AP reports the Israeli military said soldiers returned Palestinian fire from several locations in Hebron.
Palestinian officials said nine people were wounded, none seriously, AP reports.
This week has seen some of the most violent clashes in the flashpoint city of Hebron, where 400 Jewish settlers live and study among more than 120,000 Arabs, since the uprising began.
Two Jewish settlers were killed in separate attacks near the West Bank town and in an act of defiance Sunday dozens of settlers briefly took over a house in a part of the Palestinian marketplace.
Settler Elimelech Karzan was quoted by Reuters as saying: "We entered to show the Arabs and the world in general, the army, so long as the terror of the attacks tries to remove us and to reduce us, we aren't afraid to leave our homes and we enter additional places belonging to us."
Funerals and a failing cease-fire
Saturday saw an eight-year-old Palestinian girl injured by gunfire during confrontations, and thousands of Palestinians joined the funeral marches for two Palestinians who died on Friday.
Hamas member Fawwaz Badran, killed when his car exploded, was mourned in the West Bank town of Tulkarm.
Israel has not admitted any part in the death but Reuters quoted Israel Radio reporting that the Israeli government said Badran was behind two attacks in the city of Netanya that killed at least nine Israelis.
In Gaza more than 1,500 Hamas supporters attended the funeral of Atef Tafish, who Israel Defense Forces said was shot after throwing a hand grenade at Israeli soldiers defusing a bomb.
Meanwhile, Israeli security forces have snatched a member of the Islamic Jihad from a Palestinian-controlled area in the West Bank, according to the militant Islamic group.
There was no immediate comment from Israel on the report.
The violence is undermining a cease-fire brokered by the U.S. last month, which is officially still in place despite Israeli and Palestinian security officials failing to agree on a timeline to implement the recommendations of the U.S.-led commission to end the fighting.
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