Isabel Kershner
The New York Times
January 2, 2011 - 1:00am

JERUSALEM — Israeli soldiers shot and killed a Palestinian man as he approached a checkpoint in the northern West Bank early Sunday holding a glass bottle, the military said.

Palestinian officials condemned the killing, noting that it was the second death of the weekend in the West Bank. A Palestinian woman died Saturday after inhaling tear gas fired by Israeli forces a day earlier at a protest in the village of Bilin against Israel’s separation barrier nearby.

The Israeli military said the man had approached the checkpoint in an unauthorized lane and failed to heed the soldiers’ orders to stop. The soldiers followed operational procedures and opened fire, a military spokeswoman said. It was not clear whether the man was acting in a threatening way. The spokeswoman said the details of the episode were being examined.

The rising tension in the West Bank comes amid an impasse in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Peace talks broke down in September after a temporary Israeli moratorium on construction in West Bank settlements expired.

The prime minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, said Sunday in a statement that he was ready to sit down immediately and in private with the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, for direct, continuous negotiations. Mr. Netanyahu has long called for direct talks without preconditions.

“If Abu Mazen will agree to my proposal to talk directly about all the significant and core issues,” Mr. Netanyahu said, referring to Mr. Abbas by his popular name, “we will find out very quickly whether it is possible to reach an agreement.”

Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator, said in response that if Mr. Netanyahu wanted direct talks “he has to utter the numbers 1-9-6-7, and say that he is ready for two states on the 1967 lines with minor, mutually agreed land swaps.”

“At that moment,” Mr. Erekat said in a telephone interview, “they can sit and negotiate what the mutually agreed swaps are.”

Mr. Netanyahu has so far refused to agree to the 1967 lines as the basis for negotiations.

In the absence of peace talks, the Palestinians have been pursuing alternative options like seeking international endorsement for the 1967 lines as the future borders of an independent Palestinian state.

Mr. Erekat said that the Palestinians had prepared a draft resolution against Israeli settlement activity that they plan to present to the United Nations Security Council in the next few days. He said that the draft resolution said that all Israeli settlement activity in the West Bank and East Jerusalem should be considered null and void and illegal, and that it called on Israel to halt all such activities.


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