Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Palestinians Offer Amnesty to Collaborators with Israel

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Palestinians Offer Amnesty to Collaborators with Israel

Article excerpt

JERUSALEM -- Yasser Arafat's government offered amnesty yesterday to suspected collaborators with Israel -- an apparent attempt to blunt international outrage over executions of informers and thwart Israel's campaign of assassinating Palestinian militants.

Despite this shadowy war fought by the two sides, peace talks were to resume today, after a day's break called by Israel over the killing of a Jewish settler by Palestinians near his greenhouse in the Gaza Strip.

In response to the slaying, Israeli troops reimposed a tight blockade on the Gaza Strip, closing the Palestinians' international airport and border crossings. Troops blocked major roads, cutting the strip into three parts.

After 30-year-old Roni Tsalah's body was found yesterday in an orange grove near the Kfar Yam settlement, a group of settlers went on a rampage in a nearby Palestinian village. Settlers burned a greenhouse, smashed car windows and shot toward homes.

In the West Bank village of Kfar Salem, a Palestinian man was shot and killed in a clash with Israeli troops. Earlier in the day, shots were fired from Kfar Salem at an Israeli convoy, injuring a motorist. In another West Bank village, Burkin, the body of a suspected informer with Israel was discovered, Palestinian police said.

In all, 369 people have been killed in 15 weeks of Israeli-Palestinian fighting, including 317 Palestinians, 13 Israeli Arabs, 38 other Israelis and a German doctor.

The amnesty announcement came amid world anger over the executions on Saturday of two men convicted of helping Israel assassinate a Palestinian bombmaker in November. The men were executed by firing squad -- one at a soccer field in Gaza City, the other at a public square in the West Bank town of Nablus -- as relatives wailed and hundreds cried "God is Great!"

Palestinian Justice Minister Freih Abu Medein said yesterday that suspected collaborators with Israel who turned themselves in within 45 days would not be punished. …

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