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Rice Discusses Gaza with Arabs, Europeans


U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice telephoned Arab and European officials Tuesday to seek their support for Israel's Gaza withdrawal.

Her conversations with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Jordanian Foreign Minister Hani Al-Mulki also focused on President Bush's Monday meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. She spoke to Russian and German officials as well.

One of the issues Mr. Bush and Mr. Sharon discussed was Israel's construction of new homes in a large Jewish settlement (Maaleh Adumim) in the West Bank. Mr. Bush says the project violates the international road map peace plan. But construction continued Tuesday. Palestinians strongly oppose the construction near Jerusalem.

Meanwhile, Israeli opponents of the withdrawal chained shut 167 Tel Aviv-area schools Tuesday before police removed the locks.
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