U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell travels to Europe and the Middle East later this week. Among the stops on his week-long trip - Israel and the West Bank – as well as Jordan and Egypt. The main focus for the Middle East portion of the trip will be U.S. efforts to advance the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. But just after the trip was announced late Monday, there was a shooting on the West Bank. Amy Katz has more.
Palestinian gunmen shot and killed one Israeli - and wounded two others in an ambush near the West Bank town of Ramallah late Monday. The gunmen opened fire with automatic rifles on a car traveling toward a Jewish settlement. The driver – a 27-year-old Israeli – died from his wounds. His six-year-old daughter and another passenger were seriously injured. The attackers fled the scene.
The incident came just hours after U.S. Middle East Envoy – William Burns -met with the new Palestinian Prime Minister – Mahmoud Abbas – also known as Abu Mazen. Mr. Burns had told top Palestinian officials they need to make every effort to stop violence and terrorism against Israelis.
Despite the Monday ambush, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said Tuesday he IS willing to meet with Mr. Abbas. But he also said Palestinians must renounce the right of return for all refugees - if the peace process is to move forward. Mr. Sharon made the remarks as Israel was preparing to celebrate the 55th anniversary of its independence – and was observing Remembrance Day.
A siren sounded – calling people across Israel to observe a common moment of silence – to pay tribute to those who have died while serving in the Israeli military. More than 21-thousand soldiers have been killed since the Jewish State was founded in 1948.