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Israel's troops withdraw from Gaza, peace tal -

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Israel's troops withdraw from Gaza, peace talks in tatters

Broadcast: 03/03/2008

Reporter: Matt Brown

Israel has begun withdrawing ground troops from Gaza after days of fighting which have seen more
than 100 people killed.


TONY JONES: Israel has begun withdrawing ground troops from Gaza after days of fighting which have
seen more than 100 people killed.

And Prime Minister Ehud Olmert says there may be further attacks. Perhaps after a two-day pause for
the visit of US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, aimed at reinvigorating peace talks.

The Palestinian authority had earlier announced it would not take part in any further talks in
response to the offensive. Middle East correspondent Matt Brown reports.

MATT BROWN: Israeli troops pulled back to the border with the Gaza Strip. However, Israeli aircraft
bombed several targets that the military says were used by Hamas to make weapons and run
operations. The Secretary General of the United Nations says Israel used excessive force in Gaza.
But Israel has rejected those concerns.

MEIR SHEETRIT, ISRAELI INTERIOR MINISTER: It is inconceivable to believe that any other country in
the world will suffer a situation in which its own citizens are getting missiles, shelling mortars
for seven years and do nothing.

MATT BROWN: Palestinian militants continued to fire rockets at Israeli towns nearby. But aid
workers on the ground in Gaza called for an end to the violence.

JOHN GING, UN REFUGEE RELIEF AGENCY: And let's put the people before the politics. Because the
people of Gaza have suffered far too much. It's inhuman, their suffering.

MATT BROWN: The conflict also spread to the other Palestinian territory, the West Bank. Protesters
clashed with Israeli troops who fired rubber-coated bullets and tear gas and one teenager was
killed. In Gaza, doctors and families alike are struggling to come to terms with the aftermath of
the attacks. Officials say medical supplies are low because Israel maintains a strict blockade on

MIDHAT ABBAS, PALESTINIAN EMERGENCY SERVICES: Thirty-three per cent are children and their were
seven cases of amputations. The problem now that we face is that we have no beds in the intensive
care unit.

MATT BROWN: Na'eem Shukri's nine year old nephew, Shukri, was shot in the neck during the fighting.
He's not sure if the boy will ever recover.

NA'EEM SHUKRI, UNCLE: Doctors have not enough equipment here, there is no efficient care here. So
all of us here very, very worried.

MATT BROWN: As the hospital struggled under the load some of the worst cases were evacuated to
Egypt, and Israel allowed three truckloads of medical supplies to be sent in. At the scene of the
weekend's heaviest clashes in this refugee camp the fighting gave way to a funeral march. While
just seven were being buried, thousands turned out to show their support. This community is usually
riven with factional in fighting, for now it's being united behind a common cause.

Civilians have been buried beside the militants here today and they've all been hailed as martyrs
of the war with Israel. Israel's still considering a much larger offensive, which would use many
more soldiers and cause many more casualties.

Matt Brown, Lateline.