The US has criticised Israel's latest attacks on Palestinian Authority-controlled areas of the West Bank, and implored Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to take immediate steps to reduce the violence.
Israeli forces pushed into several areas of the West Bank following the 17 October assassination of Israeli Tourism Minister Rehavim Zeevi. The worst incident in this Israeli campaign of retribution came on 24 October, when at least six Palestinians were killed in an Israeli assault on the village of Beit Rima. This attack prompted US Secretary of State Colin Powell to call for an immediate withdrawal of Israeli forces from Area A, which is under complete Palestinian control.
Sharon is scheduled to visit Washington on 11 November for talks with the US administration about the Palestinian-Israeli issue. The Israeli daily Haaretz reports that Sharon plans to present proposals for the creation of a Palestinian state in advance of a settlement to core issues such as the status of Jerusalem and the rights of refugees.
US President George Bush and UK Prime Minister Tony Blair have issued statements in recent weeks expressing support for the establishment of a Palestinian state.