Israel Declares Peace Proposals Void.
By VOA News
Caretaker Prime Minister Ehud Barak's cabinet has officially declared that peace proposals made during recent talks with Palestinians are no longer valid. A unanimous Sunday vote said plans put forward by Barak are obsolete and not binding on the next government.
Prime Minister-elect Ariel Sharon has said he would not be bound by decisions reached in earlier discussions with the Palestinians. In Jerusalem, Sharon voiced optimism about forming a national unity government after his second meeting in two days with met with Barak. Elder statesman Shimon Peres, who has been kept abreast of the deliberations, also sounded optimistic, saying chances of forming a Labor-Likud coalition are fair.
Peres, a member of the Labor party along with Barak, said in a television interview that Sharon has told the Labor party it could choose two of the three most important cabinet positions if it agrees to join in a coalition government. Those positions are foreign affairs, defense, and treasury.
Meanwhile, violence between Israel and the Palestinians continued. The French news agency AFP said three Palestinians were shot and wounded in clashes with Israel soldiers Sunday. Two were wounded when Israeli troops fired on stone-throwers near the Karni crossing between the Gaza Strip and Israel, and another in a similar clash in the village of Al-Khader, near Bethlehem.
Clashes were also reported in the West Bank town of Hebron. And, for the first time in a month, Palestinian gunmen opened fired at the Jewish settlement of Gilo on the eastern outskirts of Jerusalem. Israeli sources said the shots were fired from the Palestinian-ruled town of Beit Jala near Bethlehem. There were no reports of casualties or damage.