Palestinians confront Israeli control in West Bank

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By Associated Press

BANI HASSAN, West Bank (AP) — With a pledge to rebuild a demolished road, the Palestinian prime minister opened a confrontation with Israel Tuesday over the large parts of the West Bank that are under sole Israeli control.

Israeli troops recently tore up the small Palestinian-built road, which links the Palestinian village of Bani Hassan to its olive groves to make it easier for farmers at harvest time. But it is also in one of the areas under full Israeli control that account for about 60 percent of the West Bank.

"We are going to rebuild this road and do it quickly," Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad told villagers while inspecting the damage. "And if they are going to destroy it again, we will build it again, and we will pursue development in every square inch of our territory."

Fayyad argues he must be able to carry out projects throughout the West Bank as part of an internationally backed two-year plan to lay the foundations for Palestinian statehood by August. And he appears to have some international backing.

The Palestinians seek all of the West Bank, captured by Israel in the 1967 Mideast war, as part of an independent state along with the Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem.

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