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Israel to dismantle Palestinian checkpoints

Published 25/12/2006

The Israeli Defence Minister Amir Peretz has ordered the army to dismantle some of the checkpoints in the West Bank which have severely disrupted travel for Palestinians.

This goodwill gesture is part of a package of measures which Israel hopes will boost the moderate Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas.

Peretz also said he would support the release of some of the thousands of Palestinian prisoners Israel holds, even without a deal on freeing an Israeli soldier held by Palestinian militants.

The Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert had previously rejected any prisoner release, but has softened his position since meeting President Abbas.

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