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Violence in West Bank City of Nablus Leaves One Dead

Palestinian officials say Israeli troops shot and killed a young man in the West Bank city of Nablus Saturday. Meanwhile, many Israelis prepared to converge on a central square in Tel Aviv Saturday evening for ceremonies marking the eighth anniversary of the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzak Rabin. There are conflicting reports about the incident in Nablus. The military said soldiers ordered the young Palestinian motorcyclist to stop. They said that when he refused and tried to drive away, soldiers shot him in the leg, wounding him only slightly. Witnesses and hospital officials say the man died of a gunshot wound to the chest.

It's the latest incident in daily violence that has dragged on for over three years, during which more than 2,500 Palestinians and close to 900 Israelis have lost their lives.

Eight years ago, then-Prime Minister Yitzak Rabin attended a peace rally in central Tel Aviv. He was gunned down by a Jewish extremist opposed to his peace efforts.

It was Prime Minister Rabin who signed the Oslo peace accords with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat on the lawn of the White House in 1993, ushering in a period when both sides looked optimistically toward a peaceful future.

Ten years later, little is left of that euphoria. The latest international peace plan, the so-called road map to peace, has gone virtually nowhere, with each side blaming the other for not doing enough to move it forward.

In another development Saturday, members of Yasser Arafat's Fatah movement met in Ramallah to choose a new speaker of parliament to replace Ahmed Qureia, the new Palestinian prime minister. The Fatah Central Committee was also expected to meet to discuss Mr. Qureia's Cabinet choices, in particular the post of interior minister.

Earlier this week, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said his government is willing to resume negotiations with the Palestinians. Mr. Qureia is quoted as saying there are no immediate plans for a meeting, but that contacts would continue.

Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz is expected to meet with Palestinian officials in the coming days to discuss security issues.

Sharon officials say they have no new proposals to bring to any talks at this time, but they say it's time to revisit some old ideas, and see how they can be better implemented.

Some Israeli opposition politicians believe Mr. Sharon's offer to talk was made only because of increasing pressure and criticism of his government's policies. This past week, senior military commanders, including Army Chief of Staff Moshe Ya'alon, said Mr. Sharon's tough policies against the Palestinians were counter-productive.