GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) – An American college student in Gaza to protest Israel operations was killed yesterday when she was run over by a bulldozer while trying to block troops from demolishing a Palestinian home.

At least one Palestinian also was killed.

The killing of the student by the Israelis – the first of a foreign activist in 29 months of fighting – came as Israelis and Palestinians wrangled over the terms of a U.S.-backed plan to end the violence and establish a Palestinian state.

Rachel Corrie, 23, of Olympia, Wash., had been with U.S. and British demonstrators in the Rafah refugee camp trying to stop demolitions. She died in the hospital, said Ali Moussa, a hospital administrator.

“This is a regrettable accident,” said Capt. Jacob Dallal, an army spokesman. “We are dealing with a group of protesters who were acting very irresponsibly, putting everyone in danger.”

There was no immediate reaction from Washington. Greg Schnabel, 28, of Chicago, said four Americans and four Britons were trying to stop Israeli troops from destroying a building belonging to Samir Masri.

Israel for months has been tearing down houses of Palestinians it suspects in Islamic militant activity, saying such operations deter attacks on Israel such as suicide bombings.

“Rachel was alone in front of the house as we were trying to get them to stop,” Schnabel said. “She waved for the bulldozer to stop. She fell down and the bulldozer kept going. It had completely run over her and then it reversed and ran back over her.”

She was wearing a brightly colored jacket when the bulldozer hit her.

Several Palestinians gathered at the site, and troops opened fire, killing one Palestinian, witnesses said. The army had no comment on that report.

Corrie was the first member of the Palestinian-backed “International Solidarity Movement” to be killed in a conflict that has claimed more than 2,200 Palestinian lives – about three times the toll on the Israeli side.

A student at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Corrie would have graduated this year, Schnabel said.

Her killing should be a message to President Bush, who is “providing Israel with tanks and bulldozers, and now they killed one of his own people,” said Mansour Abed Allah, 29, a Palestinian human rights worker who witnessed Corrie’s death.

Several other U.S. citizens have been killed in Palestinian-Israeli violence. On March 5, Abigail Litle, 14, was killed in a Palestinian suicide bombing attack on a bus in the northern Israeli city of Haifa. Last July, five Americans died in a bombing at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

Bush said Friday that a long-awaited “road map” for peace would be back on the table once Yasser Arafat appointed a prime minister with real power – a process that appeared well under way last week.

But yesterday, Arafat presented legislators with proposed changes to the Palestinian basic law approved last Monday that, according to a diplomatic source, created the impression that a prime minister was not independent.

The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the move could thereby reduce any pressure on Israel to constructively engage the new Palestinian prime minister.

The road map worked out by the United States, European Union, United Nations and Russia foresees Palestinian statehood by 2005 and an end to Israeli settlement-building in the West Bank and Gaza.

Bush has said that first, the Palestinians need to change their leadership, and the road map calls for Arafat to appoint an empowered prime minister.

While Arafat bowed to intense international pressure and agreed to share control with a new prime minister, Palestinian legislators said yesterday he was now asking for amendments in the law passed last week.

The most significant change was that Arafat wanted the ultimate say in the creation of a new Palestinian Cabinet, suggesting he could have veto power over candidates nominated by the new prime minister. He also asked for the right to chair Cabinet meetings, said legislators.

The 88-member Palestinian Legislative Council was to meet today to discuss the proposed changes. If agreement is reached, legislators are expected to approve the appointment of Arafat’s longtime deputy, Mahmoud Abbas, as premier.

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