Israel ready to soften line on checkpoints: Rabin stresses security imperative but speaks of co-ordination with Palestinians

JERUSALEM - The Israeli Prime Minister, Yitzhak Rabin, said yesterday that Israel could accept a Palestinian presence at its border crossings under certain conditions, to break a deadlock with the Palestine Liberation Organisation.

Speaking before closed Israeli-PLO talks in Paris, he told reporters: 'We'll negotiate co-ordination and even Palestinian presence as long as we will be sure that we can control, for the sake of security, everyone that crosses.'

It was unclear if Mr Rabin's position would break the impasse in implementing Israel's peace deal with the PLO. He said Israel would still insist on control at the borders between Palestinian self-rule areas and neighbouring Arab states. In Tunis, a PLO official said Palestinians would also demand control.

'The Palestinian control is indispensable on passages leading to the Gaza Strip and Jericho area from which the Israelis withdraw,' said Suleiman Najab, a PLO executive committee member.

Mr Rabin said Israel wanted to ensure its own security and that there would be no mass movement of Palestinians into the occupied territories. Under the peace deal, Israel was due to begin withdrawing troops from the Gaza Strip and the West Bank town of Jericho last week. The withdrawal was postponed in part because of the struggle for control of the crossings from Egypt and Jordan.

Israelis and Palestinians said earlier that they were optimistic about removing the obstacles. The talks in Paris followed closed-door negotiations in Norway earlier this week.

Asked if the Paris talks might end in agreement, Ziad Abu Zayyad, a leading Palestinian in the occupied territories, told Israel Radio: 'I believe so. It's possible.' He said he favoured any co-ordinated agreement that would ensure Israeli security without denying Palestinians the right to self-rule leading to statehood.

The Foreign Minister, Shimon Peres, who heads Israel's team at the talks with the PLO, sounded equally hopeful on Monday when he reported to Israeli television on the previous round in Oslo. 'The fact we decided to meet again shortly and together to iron out the crimps or repair the cracks shows both sides believe we can bridge the differences,' he said.

Mr Rabin's spokesman, Gad Ben- Ari, said the Israeli leader would meet the PLO chairman, Yasser Arafat, once there was progress. He declined to speculate whether they would meet late this week as envisaged when the two leaders held talks in Cairo last week.

The Israeli Labour Party's secretary-general, Nissim Zvili, said in an interview with a French newspaper that Israel was ready to agree to joint patrols with Palestinians on the borders with Egypt and Jordan. But the bridges and the border would remain under Israeli control 'as it was written very clearly in the Oslo accords', he was quoted as telling the Liberation newspaper.

'The sooner Arafat understands that, the better it will be for everyone,' Mr Zvili said.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
Attenborough with the primates
tvWhy BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
News
people
News
Campbell: ‘Sometimes you have to be economical with the truth’
newsFormer spin doctor says MPs should study tactics of leading sports figures like José Mourinho
News
news
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Voices
Lance Corporal Joshua Leakey VC
voicesBeware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
Life and Style
Alexander McQueen's AW 2009/10 collection during Paris Fashion Week
fashionMeet the collaborators who helped create the late designer’s notorious spectacles
Sport
football
News
i100
News
Perry says: 'Psychiatrists give help because they need help. You would not be working in mental health if you didn't have a curiosity about how the mind works.'
people
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

Recruitment Genius: Bookkeeper / Office Co-ordinator

£9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This role is based within a small family run ...

Recruitment Genius: Designer - Print & Digital

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Design and marketing agenc...

Recruitment Genius: Quantity Surveyor

£46000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This property investment firm are lookin...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales / Telemarketing Executive - OTE £30k / £35k plus

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company specialises provid...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003
Barbara Woodward: Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with the growing economic superpower

Our woman in Beijing builds a new relationship

Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with growing economic power
Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer. But the only British soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross in Afghanistan has both

Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer

Beware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
Alexander McQueen: The catwalk was a stage for the designer's astonishing and troubling vision

Alexander McQueen's astonishing vision

Ahead of a major retrospective, Alexander Fury talks to the collaborators who helped create the late designer's notorious spectacle
New BBC series savours half a century of food in Britain, from Vesta curries to nouvelle cuisine

Dinner through the decades

A new BBC series challenged Brandon Robshaw and his family to eat their way from the 1950s to the 1990s
Philippa Perry interview: The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course

Philippa Perry interview

The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef recreates the exoticism of the Indonesian stir-fry

Bill Granger's Indonesian stir-fry recipes

Our chef was inspired by the south-east Asian cuisine he encountered as a teenager
Chelsea vs Tottenham: Harry Kane was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope

Harry Kane interview

The striker was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope
The Last Word: For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?

Michael Calvin's Last Word

For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?
HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?