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The BBC's Chris Morris, in Jerusalem
"In seven weeks, more than 200 are dead"
 real 56k

Saturday, 18 November, 2000, 20:10 GMT
Palestinians urge calm
Continued clashes have led to more deaths
The Palestinian Authority has called on Israel not to retaliate after the killing of an Israeli soldier by a Palestinian policeman.

The appeal follows a threat by an Israeli spokesman that Israel would target senior Palestinian commanders if they were found to be behind the attack.

The army will also chase and attack Palestinian commanders who send policemen or officers to carry out attacks

Major-General Yom-Tov Samia
The policeman killed the soldier and wounded two others early on Saturday in attack on an Israeli army outpost in the Gaza Strip.

The attack, in which the policeman was also shot dead, came only a day after Mr Arafat said he had ordered gunmen not to shoot from areas under Palestinian control.

The PA has said it is investigating the incident.

Major-General Yom-Tov Samia, head of Israel's southern command told Israel Radio: "The army will also chase and attack Palestinian commanders who send policemen or officers to carry out attacks."

Palestinians have been called on to curb violence

Technically the attack did not contravene Mr Arafat's call for no firing on Israeli targets from Palestinian-controlled areas - an order which the Israelis said did not go far enough.

Also on Saturday, there are reports that nine Palestinians were injured when stone-throwing clashes broke out in the West Bank towns of Hebron, Ramallah and Beit Ummar, and in Gaza as well.

Four Israeli soldiers suffered from smoke inhalation when their armoured personnel carrier caught fire during the Beit Ummar clashes.

Annan peace initiative

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan is to begin a new drive for peace, and is planning to meet Palestinians and Israelis with the aim of sending some kind of international observer group to the area.

I appeal to the Israelis to use non-lethal methods of riot control and I appeal to the Palestinians to do all they can to stop the violence

Kofi Annan
UN Security Council members, who gave the go-ahead for Mr Annan's latest peace initiative, believe an unarmed group like the observers who already patrol the city of Hebron might play a valuable role in defusing the tensions in the region.

Originally the Palestinians proposed a 2,000 strong UN force armed with light weapons which would patrol the West Bank and Gaza.

But Israel said it could not accept the idea and the United States made it clear that without Israel's consent it would veto the force.

Israel has yet to indicate a willingness to accept even an unarmed group but the BBC UN correspondent says Mr Annan has built up a degree of trust with both sides which will prove vital if any progress is to be made.

Mr Annan's task will be to assess what kind of international observer group could prove acceptable to both sides and what the group's precise tasks should be.

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