Israel plans to transfer several towns in Judea and Samaria to Palestinian control this week. Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz announced the pullout after a five-hour meeting with senior Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat, who promised that Palestinian police would prevent terrorist attacks. First, the army will withdraw from Ramallah, the headquarters of the Palestinian Authority, then from Tulkarem, Kalkiliya and Jericho. Israel pulled out of heavily populated areas of Gaza 10 days ago, and since then violence has dropped off sharply. In an emerging cease-fire, Israel will halt army operations in areas under the control of Palestinian police. "I think there is an opportunity to create a new reality," Mofaz told Israel Radio.
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