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Jewish Settlers Take PLO Protest Into Jordan River

October 03, 1995| From Associated Press

ON THE WEST BANK-JORDANIAN BORDER — Dozens of Jewish settlers broke through Israeli army barricades and waded across the Jordan River into Jordan on Monday to protest increasing Palestinian autonomy in the West Bank.

Two Jordanian army officers arrived at the rocky riverbank but did not interfere. Soaked demonstrators surrounded the officers and shook their hands.

The settlers handed the Jordanians a letter asking Jordan's King Hussein to help prevent the enlargement of the Palestinian-ruled West Bank enclave of Jericho in the Jordan Valley. The demonstrators, most of whom live in settlements in the Jordan Valley, claimed they will be in danger if more land comes under Palestine Liberation Organization rule.

After an hour on the Jordanian side, they crossed back and were briefly detained for questioning.

Speaking to Israel's Cabinet on Monday, Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin said he had proposed enlarging the Jericho enclave by about 2 1/2 square miles to the west, in an area where there are no settlements. The Palestinians now control 25 square miles in and around Jericho.

Under the Israel-PLO agreement, Yasser Arafat's self-rule government is to gain administrative control over the area of Jiftlic in the Jordan Valley, about 20 miles north of Jericho.

But Israeli troops will remain in charge of security in Jiftlic, which straddles a north-south thoroughfare used by the settlers.

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