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US Envoy Pursues Mission to Halt Israeli-Palestinian Bloodshed - 2001-11-29

U.S. envoy Anthony Zinni is holding talks with Israeli and Palestinian security officials Thursday as he continues his mission to help both sides end 14-months of bloodshed.

Retired Marine Corps General Anthony Zinni visited Yad Vashem, the Israeli memorial in Jerusalem to victims of the holocaust, and then began a series of discussions with military and security officials.

General Zinni is meeting with Lieutenant General Shaul Mofaz, the chief of the Israeli armed forces, and Jabril Rajoub, the head of Palestinian security services in the West Bank.

The U.S. envoy is also holding talks with Palestinian negotiators appointed by Chairman Yasser Arafat to discuss cease-fire arrangements.

After meeting with Mr. Arafat in the West Bank town of Ramallah, General Zinni said he believes both sides are committed to ending more than a year of violence.

"I think both sides have suffered far too much in the last months and I think it is time for a change," the general said. " I am convinced both sides have made a commitment to this and we have made a commitment to help in this process and I think it is important for everyone on all sides, all citizens, to commit to this. We need to end the violence and we need to get back on the track toward peace."

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State William Burns, who has been traveling with General Zinni, has left Israel. He is holding talks in Egypt and Saudi Arabia before returning to the United States. General Zinni is to remain in the region.

There has been continuing bloodshed since the U.S. envoys began their mission earlier this week.

Late Wednesday Israeli soldiers shot and killed a Palestinian man in the Gaza Strip.

The army says the troops shot the man as he approached them, shouting Islamic slogans, and ignoring orders to stop.

Israeli soldiers and Palestinians also exchanged gunfire between the Palestinian village of Beit Jala and the Israeli community of Gilo, which is adjacent to Jerusalem. No injuries were reported.

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is heading to the United States and is scheduled to meet President Bush and other top officials next Monday.

Mr. Sharon is expected to discuss the situation in the Middle East and the war against terrorism.