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Unity Meeting Endorses Palestinian Uprising - 2002-08-12

Palestinian factions have rejected proposals to end attacks on Israeli civilians.

At a unity meeting in Gaza City Monday, Palestinian political factions instead gave in to militant groups, endorsing the current uprising against Israel.

A draft manifesto from the meeting stresses the legitimacy of resistance against Israeli aggression, occupation and Jewish settlements. The radical Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades released a separate statement saying it will continue suicide bombings unless Israel withdraws from Palestinian territories.

Moderate Palestinians, led by members of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's Fatah movement, unsuccessfully sought support for a call to halt attacks on civilians inside Israel.

Meanwhile, an Israeli military court has approved the forced expulsion of three Palestinian relatives of suspected terrorists from the West Bank to the fenced-off Gaza Strip. Israel hopes the expulsions will act as a deterrent to potential suicide attackers and their supporters. Human rights groups say the move violates international law.

An Israeli spokesman says the woman and two men facing expulsion have been given until midday Tuesday to appeal the decision to Israel's Supreme Court.

Early Monday, Israeli troops shot and killed a Palestinian militant in a village near the West Bank city of Jenin. The dead man was identified as a member of the militant Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades.

In more developments, Israel reported the arrest of thirteen Palestinian militants in raids in the West Bank, Gaza and Jerusalem late Sunday and early Monday.