Israeli Minister of Justice Tzipi Livni
officially announced on Sunday that Israel will not proceed with the
release of 400 Palestinian detainees held in Israeli prisons.

Livni claimed that Palestinian resistance groups increased their attacks against military targets over the last few weeks.

The statements of Livni came after a meeting of the
joint Palestinian-Israeli prisoner committee; Israeli ministers Gideon
Ezra and Benjamin Ben-Eliezer also attended the meeting.

Israeli government officials have set the condition
that any prisoner release should be directly linked with ‘Palestinian
crackdown on resistance groups’.

The Israeli team claimed that the Palestinian Authority has ‘hardly conducted any efforts on this issue’.

Sofian Abu Zaida, P.A minister of Prisoners affairs
who headed that Palestinian team, reported that Israeli should show
some patience, and examine the procedures taken by the P.A.

Also, Abu Zaida added that the priority in releasing Palestinian detainees should be given to administrative detainees.

Sharon conditions his pledge to release prisoners

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said Sunday that Israel will
not release any more Palestinian prisoners until the Palestinian
Authority cracks down on militant groups.

‘We cannot approve any measures that ease the lives of Palestinians
so long as they are not doing their part,’ said Sharon, during the
weekly cabinet meeting.

Sharon asked Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni,
who will take part in the meeting, to make clear to the PA
representatives that ‘we do not intend to live under fire.’

An Israeli source said on Wednesday that Israeli and
Palestinian officials will meet next week to discuss the release of 400
more Palestinian prisoners. Israel has also delayed the process after
the first batch of 500 prisoners was released.

Both the release of prisoners and the handover of
west bank cities to the PA were decided on the Sharm’s summit meeting
around two months ago.

Also, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon told the
security cabinet Wednesday that he will meet soon with Palestinian
President Mahmoud Abbas nexst week after the Israeli Independence Day
holiday.

PA security chief said Wednesday that despite Israeli pressure, the PA has no intention of disarming resistance groups.

‘We have no intention of withdrawing arms of
resistance,’ Rashid Abu Shbak, the head of the internal Preventive
Security Service, said in a news conference in Gaza.

Yet, Abu Shbak called resistance groups to honor their commitment to the cease-fire, and not take their weapons out in public.

‘Arms of resistance should not be displayed in
streets. Arms of resistance should not be used in family feuds. Arms of
resistance should not kill a woman who goes out with her fiance,’ he
said

The Palestinian Authority began a law-and-order
drive last weekend aimed both at ending lawlessness and ensuring the
truce is respected.

Abbas has always said he prefers dialogue with
resistance to using force to rein them in, but Israel has said
repeatedly that there will be no peace negotiations until the
dismantling of armed factions.

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