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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

2 Arabs Shot as Protests Rage On

JERUSALEM -- Israeli soldiers shot dead two Arab protesters Wednesday as European and Russian envoys tried to help Israel and the PLO salvage their peace accord from the Hebron massacre.


The troops killed one Palestinian in Hebron and another in Jericho, and wounded around 60, witnesses said.


Protests erupted for a sixth day in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip against the massacre of about 40 Arabs by a Jewish settler last Friday.


Moscow and the European Union sent envoys to see PLO leader Yasser Arafat in Tunis on Wednesday. They then came to Israel to try to get peace talks restarted. Russia is co-sponsor of the peace process with the United States.


The PLO, after the Hebron killings, suspended talks with Israel aimed at hammering out details of their agreement for limted Palestinian self-rule in the Gaza Strip and Jericho.


Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, urging the PLO to resume talks, said he would restrict the movement of 18 Jewish settlers to try to defuse tension.


In a meeting with foreign reporters he acknowledged that only one of the five Jewish extremists he ordered disarmed Sunday had so far been found.


The PLO has dismissed Rabin's attempts to rein in Jewish militants as inadequate. It wants a multinational force to protect the 2 million Arabs in the Israeli-occupied lands and the disarming of the 120,00 settlers who live there.


Rabin rejected both demands Wednesday and said curfews and closures on Palestinians would continue.


He called the Hebron killer, Baruch Goldstein, a "Hamas Jew," a reference to the militant Islamic Hamas movement which also opposes the Palestinian self-rule deal signed last September but delayed over security differences.


Rabin warned Arafat against trying to renegotiate the September Declaration of Principles, or DOP, by putting Jewish settlements on the agenda.


"I would not give my hand to any reopening of the DOP or the Cairo agreement...This is not the way to carry out negotiations regardless of all the shame that this Hamas Jew put on us," he said.


He said both sides were on the verge of concluding the first phase of their deal an Israeli withdrawal from Gaza and Jericho, when Goldstein struck. He said Israel could complete its pull-out in six weeks once agreement was reached.


Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov arrived in Israel saying Moscow supported an international presence in the territories.


"Russia is a great power. It gives its support to the idea of an international presence which in our view can add guarantees to avoid new provocation of violence," Ivanov told reporters.


Greek Foreign Minister Karolos Papoulias, president of the EU Council of Ministers said he had brought ideas from Arafat, but gave no details.


Rabin, who goes to Washington in two weeks' time, said the PLO had no choice but to resume talks.


"The longer they will be dragged out, the more it will be difficult to resume them and the situation on the ground will be complicated," he said.