PLO denies any deal on border crossings: Palestinians accuse Peres of bouncing them into agreement by leaks to Israeli press - Arafat under fire from his supporters

THE Gaza-Jericho peace plan ran on to further rocky ground yesterday, as hopes for early Israeli withdrawal evaporated once again and new concerns surfaced about division within the Palestine Liberation Organisation.

On Wednesday Shimon Peres, the Israeli Foreign Minister, suggested there had been a 'meeting of minds' which had led to an agreement in Cairo over how Israel should withdraw from Gaza and Jericho. In particular, he suggested a deal had been struck over the most contentious issue: who should have control at the external border crossings.

However, the PLO yesterday dismissed Israel's claims as 'bluff', saying there had been no such 'joint agreement'. Mr Peres was accused of trying to bounce the PLO into a deal by leaking the Israeli draft terms to the Israeli press. The draft showed that Israel had relinquished its demand for sole control at the crossings, by agreeing that the Palestinians should have a presence, yet insisting that Israel should have a veto over who should enter.

Mr Arafat has made clear that he will continue to demand overall control at the crossings and reject an Israeli veto. Otherwise the Palestinian authority would be an Israeli puppet and the Palestinian leadership would lose all credibility, say his aides.

Last night it was unclear where the talks can go from here. It was announced that the negotiations are to start again next week in Taba, the Red Sea resort. However, the Taba talks are only at official level and are unlikely to bring agreement where the ministerial-level Cairo talks failed.

'The ball is in Arafat's court,' was all government officials said last night. But from Tunis came remonstrations that PLO counter-proposals would soon be issued, placing the ball back in Israel's court.

Mr Arafat's bargaining position has not been helped by signs that his autocratic style is creating dissent in the Palestinian camp. On Sunday a delegation of influential Palestinians is to travel to Tunis, led by Haidar Abdul Shafi, the former head of the negotiating team, to call on Mr Arafat to introduce democratic accountability into the PLO and listen to different Palestinian voices.

The delegation represents 118 prominent Palestinians from inside and outside the occupied territories, including Arafat supporters, who have signed a petition demanding changes. The petitioners are not directly criticising Mr Ara fat's position. Nevertheless, they are openly critical of his failure to consult on policy and appointments, saying the leadership is acting in a way which is 'close to improvisation'.

The petition urged creating a non-political body to shadow the executive committee, the PLO's key decision-making body since its formation 30 years ago.

This week's developments have exposed the fragility of the September peace agreement. The failure to agree on who controls border crossings has exposed fundamental differences between the two sides over how much real authority should be handed to the Palestinians in the first stage.

Assuming the agreement can be put into effect, there is mounting concern whether Mr Arafat and the PLO, as presently constituted, will guarantee the type of self-rule desired by the Palestinians.

The mounting problems have not yet led to a sense of crisis in the occupied territories. The agreement set a strict deadline for withdrawal to be completed by 13 April. However, there is a growing realisation in Palestinian political circles that it will take time to reach agreement.

(Photograph omitted)

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
musicBand's first new record for 20 years has some tough acts to follow
News
peopleAt least it's for a worthwhile cause
Voices
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
News
Liam Payne has attacked the media for reporting his tweet of support to Willie Robertson and the subsequent backlash from fans
peopleBut One Direction star insists he is not homophobic
Life and Style
healthFor Pure-O OCD sufferers this is a reality they live in
Life and Style
Sexual health charities have campaigned for the kits to be regulated
healthAmerican woman who did tells parents there is 'nothing to be afraid of'
News
Shoppers in Covent Garden, London, celebrate after they were the first to buy the iPhone 6, released yesterday
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Affleck stars as prime suspect Nick Dunne in the film adaptation of Gone Girl
filmBen Affleck and Rosamund Pike excel in David Fincher's film, says Geoffrey Macnab
Life and Style
fashion
News
news
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

English Teacher

£85 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Chester: Job Opportunity for Secondary ...

English Teacher

£100 - £110 per day: Randstad Education Group: [ Megan Smith 22/09/2014 17:00:...

Foundation and KS1 Teacher

£100 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Foundation and Key Stage 1...

Geography Teacher

£100 - £110 per day: Randstad Education Group: Temporary Teacher of GEOGRAPHY ...

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
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