Israel closes Gaza Strip for a day - World - News - The Independent

Israel closes Gaza Strip for a day

AS YASSER ARAFAT, chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organisation, announced that he intended to take up permanent residence today in the Gaza Strip, accompanied for the first time by his wife, Suha, Israel sealed off the enclave, preventing thousands of Arabs from reaching their jobs in Israel. The closure order, imposed after clashes at a Gaza border point, illustrated how easily Israel can reassert control over the self- rule enclaves when it wishes to.

The Israeli military authorities said later that the area, which was sealed at dawn yesterday, would be reopened at midnight. The incident did not prevent Mr Arafat from attending a farewell ceremony last night in Tunisia, which has been home to the PLO for the past 12 years.

In Cairo, talks got underway yesterday, aimed at extending a degree of Palestinian self-rule beyond Jericho to the rest of the West Bank. The Palestinian side say they will insist that Gaza-Jericho-style autonomy be applied to the 1 million Palestinians of the West Bank, with wide-scale withdrawal of Israeli forces, ahead of full elections throughout the self- rule areas.

Israel, however, is keen to put the brakes on the implementation of phase two and will offer, instead, a limited form of autonomy called 'early empowerment'. As a first step the Palestinians of the West Bank would be empowered to take charge of running affairs in five policy areas, and, over time, Israel would be prepared to offer the authority powers in 15 non- contentious areas. Israel will insist that redeployment be more limited than in Gaza and Jericho, and will hope to deter Palestinians from rushing into early elections.

Meanwhile, hopes were raised yesterday of a diplomatic breakthrough in relations between Israel and Jordan, with the first direct public contacts between the two governments expected in the next ten days. On Saturday, King Hussein of Jordan publicly declared his readiness to meet the Prime Minister, Yitzhak Rabin.

In a address to the Jordanian parliament, the King appeared to be deliberately trying to prepare Jordanian public opinion for such a meeting, stressing that he would do it, not out of sudden friendship for Israel, but because he was under pressure to please the US in return for financial assistance.

A full-blown summit between the King and Mr Rabin is probably still some way off, but in the next two weeks, Jordanian and Israeli officials are expected to meet publicly for the first time on Jordanian soil. They will discuss disputes of border demarcation, security, water rights, and other issues to be solved before the two sides can sign a peace treaty.

Suggested Topics
News
John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'That was the lowest I’d ever felt'
Life and Style
healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing
News
peopleThe report and photo dedicated to the actress’s decolletage has, unsurprisingly, provoked anger
Property
Home body: Badger stays safe indoors
property
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
The programme sees four specialists creating what they believe are three perfect couples, based on scientific matchmaking. The couples will not meet until they walk down the aisle together
tvUK wedding show jilted
Arts and Entertainment
US pop diva Jennifer Lopez sang “Happy Birthday” to Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, president of Turkmenistan
musicCorporate gigs become key source of musicians' income
Arts and Entertainment
You've been framed: Henri Matisse's colourful cut-outs at Tate Modern
artWhat makes a smash-hit art show
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
filmsDaniel Craig believed to be donning skis as 007 for first time
Sport
Mikel Arteta pictured during Borussia Dortmund vs Arsenal
champions league
Voices
Yes supporters gather outside the Usher Hall, which is hosting a Night for Scotland in Edinburgh
voicesBen Judah: Is there a third option for England and Scotland that keeps everyone happy?
Arts and Entertainment
Pulp-fiction lover: Jarvis Cocker
booksJarvis Cocker on Richard Brautigan
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke and Pharell Williams in the video of the song, which has been accused of justifying rape
music...and he had 'almost no part' in writing it
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Senior QA Engineer - Agile, SCRUM

£35000 - £50000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior QA Engineer (Agil...

Marketing Executive - West Midlands - £28,000

£26000 - £28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Digital Marketing Executive (SEO, PP...

Retail Business Analyst

£40000 - £50000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our retail client ...

Senior C++ Developer

£400 - £450 Per Annum possibly more for the right candidate: Clearwater People...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week