Palestinian deportees appeal to envoy

LONDON - The Government last night offered RAF helicopters in Cyprus as transport to airlift a small group of the 400 Palestinians expelled by Israel out of the no man's land of south Lebanon, writes Stephen Goodwin.

Douglas Hurd, the Foreign Secretary, told the Commons that if Israel and other parties concerned could agree on a further visit to the deportees by the International Committee of the Red Cross, RAF helicopters would be available to help. The Foreign Office believes there is a 'glimmer of hope' the ICRC will be allowed by Israel to bring out nine Palestinians recognised to have been deported 'by mistake' and probably some medical cases. Mr Hurd again condemned the expulsions as 'illegal and a menace to the peace process'.

Meanwhile, the leader of the Palestine Liberation Organisation, Yasser Arafat, in a rare address on Israel Television, called on Israel to agree to a direct meeting with PLO leaders.

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