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Jewish Settlers Suspected in Shooting Death of Palestinian Man - 2002-10-06


Jewish settlers are suspected of shooting dead one Palestinian and wounding another in an attack near the West Bank city of Nablus.

Palestinian officials say a group of Jewish settlers opened fire Sunday on Palestinian residents working in an olive grove in the village of Akraba.

The mayor of the village, Khaled Mayadmeh, says a complaint has been filed with the Israeli police. An Israeli army spokesman says the claims are being investigated.

In a separate incident earlier in the day, Israeli soldiers arrested a Jewish settler in another part of the West Bank on charges of shooting and wounding a Palestinian. That shooting occurred during clashes between Palestinians and settlers.

A 16-year-old Palestinian girl was also arrested Sunday, after allegedly being in possession of a knife and admitting to planning to stab a settler.

The latest violence came as European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana held talks with Israeli and Palestinian officials, kicking off a new round of international diplomacy, aimed at ending more than two years of bloodshed.

Israeli Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer told Mr. Solana that the EU should be pushing the Palestinian leadership to halt attacks by militant groups against Israelis.

Mr. Solana also met with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's security adviser, Mohammad Dahlan. Following their meeting, Mr. Dahlan accused Israel of destroying efforts to revive peace talks and of ongoing attacks on the Palestinian people.

Meanwhile, U.S. Middle East envoy William Burns is due to visit the region in the next few days, amid fresh tensions with the Palestinians over the future status of Jerusalem.

The Palestinian leadership has been angered by President Bush's decision to sign legislation last week requiring American government documents to identify Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

In a countermove, Mr. Arafat signed a law Saturday declaring Jerusalem to be the capital of a future Palestinian state. The move is seen as symbolic, as Israel has full control over the city, and has declared it will never relinquish sovereignty over any part of it.

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