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Israel says Paris Mideast summit postponed

Israeli air strike kills two Palestinians in Gaza: medics
Gaza City (AFP) Oct 17, 2010 - Two Palestinians were killed and a third wounded on Sunday in a pre-dawn Israeli air strike north of Gaza City, Palestinian medics said. Adham Abu Selmiya, an official in the Hamas-run health ministry, said one of the men was killed immediately while the other succumbed to his wounds after being brought to a hospital. Both were in their early 20s. The Israeli military said the air force had struck a "squad of terror operatives who were preparing to fire rockets from the northern Gaza Strip into Israel."

The number of rockets fired from the Hamas-ruled territory declined sharply in the wake of a massive 22-day Israeli offensive in December 2008 and January 2009 during which some 1,400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis were killed. But since the the start of this year more than 165 rockets and mortar rounds have been fired at Israel from Gaza, according to the military. The rockets are believed to have been fired by smaller and more extreme factions within the territory, while Hamas itself has taken steps to rein in such attacks. The makeshift projectiles rarely wound anyone or cause damage.
by Staff Writers
Jerusalem (AFP) Oct 16, 2010
A planned October 21 summit in Paris between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has been postponed, the premier's office said on Saturday.

"Following consultations, the parties concerned have agreed to decide on another date," a statement from Netanyahu's office said.

On Friday the French presidency had raised the possibility of the meeting previously announced by President Nicolas Sarkozy not going ahead next Thursday as planned, following the suspension of direct peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat on Saturday implicitly confirmed the postponement of the Paris gathering.

"The continuation by Israel of settlement activity ruins all peace efforts, be they those of (US) President Barack Obama or those of President Nicolas Sarkozy," he told AFP.

He added that in any case the Palestinian Authority "has not received an official invitation, giving a date, for such a meeting."

Earlier on Saturday, the French foreign ministry said it was "deeply disappointed" with Israel's plans to resume building homes for settlers in east Jerusalem, and urged Netanyahu's government to reconsider.

"This decision is inopportune. France is deeply disappointed," ministry spokesman Bernard Valero said in a statement. "France calls on the Israeli authorities to reconsider this decision."

On Friday, Israel announced plans to build 238 new homes in east Jerusalem, provoking anger from the Palestinian Authority and criticism from its key ally the United States.

US-brokered direct peace talks launched in early September ground to a halt within weeks after the expiry of a 10-month moratorium on the construction of new settler homes in the occupied West Bank.

Abbas has refused to hold further negotiations while settlement construction in the West Bank continues, and a week ago Arab League foreign ministers gave US negotiators a month to try to resolve the impasse.

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