Rabin in concession to PLO: Optimism on talks as Israeli and Egyptian leaders prepare to meet

WITH the Palestinian deportees in southern Lebanon crying 'treachery', the two sides in the Middle East peace talks appeared yesterday to be edging towards a compromise for resuming the negotiations.

Just one week before the date set by the co-sponsors, the United States and Russia, for a resumption of the talks, Yitzhak Rabin, the Israeli Prime Minister, and President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt meet in Ismailiya today to hammer out a formula that might finally be acceptable to the Palestinians and their Arab partners. Mr Mubarak was in Cairo last night consulting Yasser Arafat, chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organisation, and Faisal Husseini, the PLO leader from the occupied territories.

Two other Palestinian leaders, Hanan Ashrawi and Haidar Abdel-Shafi, left for Washington to ensure positions were co-ordinated with the US. The decision on whether to go will be taken in Damascus at the weekend when Arab foreign ministers meet. The only people who did not appear to have been consulted were the deportees, whose exile in December led to the stalling of talks. 'We will take the bullets of the Jewish enemy in our chests and will never be silenced about the treachery by the Palestinian delegation,' said Abdul Aziz al-Rantisi, a deportee spokesman.

The apparent new optimism over the talks was immediately tempered in Jerusalem by news of renewed violence in southern Lebanon, where three Israeli soldiers were killed in a bomb ambush carried out by the pro-Iranian Hizbollah gunmen.

The most substantial suggestion for luring the Palestinians back to the talks, put by the US, will allow Mr Husseini, an east Jerusalem resident, and the most prominent Palestinian leader in the occupied territories, to sit on the peace delegation, thereby giving a new priority to east Jerusalem in the talks, and at the same time strengthening the Palestinian team.

Israeli ministers and officials have insisted that the admission of Mr Husseini to the peace team would be only 'symbolic'. However, for Israel to agree to it constitutes a significant climbdown over one its most fiercely held positions. Until now Mr Husseini, though de facto leader of the peace team, has been forced to loiter off-stage, unable to take part officially due to Israel's refusal to talk to anyone from east Jerusalem, for fear it would be taken as a signal of flexibility over the status of the annexed Arab district.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
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

MBDA UK Ltd: Electronic Sub-System Design Verification engineer

Flexible working, annual bonus, pension & more.: MBDA UK Ltd: What’s the oppor...

MBDA UK Ltd: Test Systems Architect

Competitive salary & benefits: MBDA UK Ltd: What’s the opportunity? MBDA has e...

MBDA UK Ltd: Test Systems Design Engineer

Competitive salary & benefits: MBDA UK Ltd: What’s the opportunity?MBDA has en...

MBDA UK Ltd: PCB Technologies Engineer

Competitive salary & benefits: MBDA UK Ltd: What’s the opportunity?MBDA has en...

Day In a Page

Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

Art attack

Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
10 best wedding gift ideas

It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

Paul Scholes column

With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor