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Tel Aviv Attack Dampens Looming Hope for Prisoner Release

Israel on Sunday rejected a joint committee meeting on the release of Palestinian prisoners after Friday's suicide bombing in Tel Aviv, the Ha'aretz daily reported.

Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni said that Israel's reluctance to convene the panel, which was charged with setting criteria for the prisoners' release, stemmed from the lack of Palestinians' determination to counter terrorism in the territories.

The committee, of which Livni is a member, was established after the Sharm el-Sheikh summit between Israel and the Palestinians on Feb. 8, when Israel promised to release 900 Palestinian prisoners in a goodwill gesture.

Livni's remarks came as part of Israeli pressures on the Palestinian National Authority following a suicide attack in Tel Aviv on Friday, which killed four Israelis and wounded dozens of others.

The attack has dampened a looming hope after the Sharm el-Sheikh summit. After the attack, Israel threatened to take retaliative actions and halted all confidence-building measures, including handing over security control of five West Bank towns.

(Xinhua News Agency February 28, 2005)

At Least 4 Killed in Suicide Bomb Attack in Tel Aviv
New Palestinian Government Sworn In
Israel Frees 500 Prisoners
Israeli Cabinet Approves Evacuation Plan
Israel Halts Razing of Palestinian Homes
Israel, Palestinians Strike Truce Deal
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