GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) – A major Palestinian militant group promised Wednesday it would fire no more rockets at Israelis with the approach of Israel’s planned withdrawal from the Gaza Strip this month, after a barrage accidentally killed a 5-year-old Palestinian boy.

The promise by Islamic Jihad came as international mediator James Wolfensohn called on Israel and the Palestinians to finish their coordination talks on issues like border crossings. Wolfensohn had a series of meetings Wednesday with officials on both sides.

Officials said Israel’s Cabinet will approve the removal of three isolated Gaza settlements in a vote Sunday. The settlements are Netzarim, southwest of Gaza City; Kfar Darom in central Gaza; and Morag in the north, the officials said. However, the government still could decide instead to remove three other settlements in northern Gaza in the first stage.

The pullout is to begin Aug. 17. The Cabinet has approved it several times, but it must vote separately for each group of settlements to be removed.

Islamic Jihad’s statement was a sign that the pullout might proceed calmly. The group and its larger militant counterpart, Hamas, denied firing three rockets toward an Israeli demonstration across the Gaza fence late Tuesday. One of the rockets hit a Gaza house and killed the child, wounding nine other people.

Maintaining calm during the Israeli exit is a vitally important goal for the Palestinian Authority in its desire to show that it can control the volatile territory. Militant groups, on the other hand, are trying to demonstrate that they are driving the Israelis out by force.

After a short hiatus with the start of a truce in February, militants have resumed pelting Gaza settlements and Israeli towns just outside the territory with rockets and mortars on a daily basis.

Palestinian Cabinet minister Mohammed Dahlan said Tuesday’s attack hurt Palestinian interests. He threatened to use force if necessary to stop such activity.

“What took place last night is a national scandal,” Dahlan said. “This is unfortunately not the first time that Palestinian victims are being killed. … We should put an end to this by any means, by force, or by pursuing and convincing.”

The Palestinian Interior Ministry called on all militant groups to halt attacks and commit themselves to the cease-fire.

The target of the three rockets was Sderot, where about 15,000 Israeli opponents of the Gaza pullout were demonstrating.

Following a scenario agreed on with police, the demonstrators spent the night in another town, Ofakim. Police deployed in force to prevent them from reaching their stated goal – storming into Gush Katif, the main bloc of Israeli settlements in Gaza.

After a rally in Ofakim, the demonstrators were expected to try to break through police lines and head for Gaza, about 20 miles away, and police were arrayed in several cordons to stop them.

During the afternoon, police arrested 20 protesters who tried to sneak into Gaza, according to police spokesman Avi Zelba. He said five were juveniles.

In another protest, extremist Israelis blocked the main Jerusalem-Tel Aviv highway with burning tires during evening rush hour, witnesses said.

Explaining his “disengagement” plan, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has said that maintaining 21 small settlements in Gaza among 1.3 million hostile Palestinians is untenable, and the pullout would solidify Israel’s hold on its main West Bank blocs, where most of the territory’s more than 200,000 settlers live.

Settlers and their backers oppose any pullout as a dangerous precedent, and the Orthodox Jewish settler leadership opposes giving up any part of the biblical Promised Land.

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