Israel Halting Transfer Of Authority To PA

Defense Ministry officials said today (Thursday) that Israel will not be continuing with any further diplomatic gestures towards the Palestinian Authority, at least until such time as the PA takes action against terrorist organizations operating from its jurisdiction.

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Prisoner releases will cease, and the PA will not be given control over any additional territories in Judea, Samaria and Gaza (Yesha), according to the officials.

However, it has been decided at this point that the IDF will not recapture cities already transferred to PA control, nor will existing measures aimed at easing daily life for the general Arab population of Yesha be limited. At the same time, government officials emphasized, the IDF will not be restrained in its counterterrorism offensives against known terrorists - in PA-controlled territory or outside of it.

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz, and senior officials from Israel’s security arms decided against a wide-ranging military response to recent Arab terrorism at security consultation following this week’s twin suicide bombings. Government officials indicated that the response to Arab terrorism is intended to avoid an escalation of the violence between Israel and the PA terror organizations.

Special US envoy to the Middle East, John Wolfe, will be informed of the Israeli decisions today at a meeting with Defense Minister Mofaz.