Settlers call for curbs on police

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The Independent Online
Jerusalem (Reuter) - Jewish settlers yesterday asked the Israeli Prime Minister not to allow Palestinian police to carry rifles when they are deployed in the West Bank.

They met Yitzhak Rabin and military chiefs for more than two hours at the end of a week in which Jewish settlers who oppose Palestinian self- rule seized the political initiative by illegally occupying West Bank hilltops.

Hundreds of protesters were dragged away and briefly arrested every day from Monday to Thursday, when the settlers declared a three-day truce.

"Letting 20,000 so-called police come in with Kalashnikovs raises our fear of a worsening of security, not increased security," said Uri Ariel, a settler leader. "One could say, maybe these police shouldn't have Kalashnikovs, but just clubs and a few guns?"

The Israel-PLO peace deal allows the 100,000 West Bank Jewish settlers to remain in place during an interim period, but delays in its implementation are largely due to differences over security. Another week of negotiations on the second stage of the accord ended yesterdaywith little progress on redeployment of Israeli troops out of Arab communities, Palestinian elections and security.