Israel and PLO near agreement

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The Independent Online
JERUSALEM - Israel and the PLO, meeting this week to accelerate peace moves, are near agreement on expanding Palestinian powers in the occupied West Bank, a top Israeli official said yesterday. Having handed over Jericho in the West Bank and most of the Gaza Strip to the PLO, Israel is due to transfer power in five spheres of life in the rest of the West Bank - education, health, social affairs, taxation and tourism.

Palestinians had expected an agreement last week. Uri Savir, director-general of the Foreign Ministry, told Israel Radio the main obstacle was the handover of responsibility for the direct taxation of the West Bank's nearly 1 million Palestinians. 'The moment . . . the money matter will be settled, I believe the way is paved for the transfer of the five powers,' he said. Reuter

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