Israelis, Palestinians Make 'Real Progress' on Gaza Troop Withdrawal

Israeli and Palestinian negotiators made "real progress" in security talks Friday, resolving the main dispute that had held up an Israeli troop withdrawal from parts of the Gaza Strip (searchand the West Bank (searchtown of Bethlehem (search), a Palestinian official said.

It wasn't clear if the agreement paved the way for a troop pullout or whether more issues needed to be resolved. Israeli officials were not immediately available for comment.

As part of a U.S.-backed peace plan, Israel is to withdraw to positions it held before the outbreak of fighting in September 2000.

The meeting was attended by Palestinian security chief Mohammed Dahlan; a senior Israeli security official, Maj. Gen. Amos Gilad; the U.S. ambassador to Israel, Dan Kurtzer; and John Wolf, who heads a team of U.S. officials monitoring implementation of the peace plan.