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Palestinian Militants Reject Call for Cease-Fire - 2002-09-03


Palestinian militants have rejected a Palestinain Authority request to suspend attacks against Israel.

At least four armed Palestinian groups, including a group linked to Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, say they are totally opposed to efforts by the Palestinian Authority to declare a cease-fire with Israel.

They were responding to an appeal by Palestinian Interior Minister, Abdel Razak Yehiyeh, who is responsible for security.

The al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, the armed wing of Mr. Arafat's Fatah faction, joined with Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine to reject Mr. Yehiyeh's call. The groups are listed by the State Department as terrorist organizations.

Mr. Yehiyeh said in a series of interviews with Israeli and international media that he wants a halt to all acts of violence against Israel.

He says that Palestinians should be pushing their case for statehood through peaceful means, including civil disobedience and other forms of non-violent protest.

More than 2,000 people have died, most of them Palestinians, since the start of the latest wave of violence nearly two years ago.

The violence has not produced any political gains for the Palestinians, prompting some figures such as Mr. Yehiyeh to openly call for a change of tactics.

But a spokesman for the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades says there will be no end to the violence until the end of "the Israeli military occupation" of Palestinian areas.

Hamas and Islamic Jihad, two groups dedicated to Israel's destruction, have issued similar statements.

Meanwhile, in a landmark decision Tuesday aimed at deterring such attacks, Israel's Supreme Court approved the expulsion of relatives of suspected Palestinian terrorists from the West Bank to the Gaza Strip.

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