Israel lifts the ban on meetings with PLO

JERUSALEM (AP, Reuter) - The Israeli parliament yesterday legalised contacts with the PLO, long shunned as a 'terrorist organisation'.

The vote could boost Israel's negotiations with the Palestinians, which hit a crisis over Israel's deportation of more than 400 alleged Muslim extremists last month. The vote also came amid growing calls by Israeli liberals to open direct negotiations with the PLO in order to strengthen Palestinian moderates who support the Middle East peace talks.

However, Israeli civilians shot dead a 12-year-old Palestinian boy when they opened fire on demonstrators who stoned their car in the Gaza Strip yesterday. Palestinians said Jewish settlers opened fire from a car on a road often used by Israelis travelling through the Gaza Strip.