Deportees prepare for return

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The Independent Online
(First Edition)

AMMAN (Reuter) - Thirty Palestinian deportees allowed to go home by Israel will begin returning to the occupied territories today, a PLO official said. They are all nationalist leaders expelled by Israel after 1967 but before December's deportation of 415 Palestinians. They were meeting at the Palestinian embassy in Amman to discuss arrangements for the return.

The returnees will have to cross the Allenby Bridge over the River Jordan linking the West Bank and Jordan - the Palestinians' only link with the Arab world.

'We still do not know if they will be allowed to return en masse or in groups of six,' a PLO official said. 'The picture will become clearer after the meeting.' The Palestinian Middle East peace delegation said on Tuesday it had received a list of 30 deportees who would return in groups of six starting within the next 48 hours.

Israel, fulfilling a promise made to persuade Palestinians to resume Middle East peace talks, cancelled the deportation orders on Wednesday.

The Palestinian spokeswoman, Hanan Ashrawi, read the list of names, many of them well-known nationalists, to reporters and said: 'We feel we have begun unravelling the whole policy of deportation.'

(Photograph omitted)