Visit brings dilemma for Rabin

JERUSALEM - Israel's Prime Minister was under pressure last night to give ground over the deportee stalemate, as Warren Christopher, the US Secretary of State, arrived to tell Yitzhak Rabin that new 'gestures' were needed, writes Sarah Helm.

Precisely what gestures Mr Christopher seeks remain unclear. But the Palestinian delegation, which is to meet Mr Christopher in Jerusalem, will make its demands clear: to return to the peace talks, the Palestinians want a commitment from Mr Rabin not to carry out a mass deportation again. The principle of mass exile must be struck from Israeli law, they will say.

This demand shows flexibility, and stops short of their earlier insistence on the return of each deportee before the peace talks resume. But it presents Mr Rabin with a dilemma. Ten days ago, Mr Rabin insisted on the right to carry out future mass deportations if necessary. 'The principle of our ability to remove for a limited time hundreds of inciters, leaders, organisers, remains,' he told MPs, in response to right-wing opposition criticism that his offer to allow 101 deportees to return meant a surrender to 'terrorists'.

Another climbdown might be seen as weakness, encouraging Arab extremists to further violence. But if he does not make some concession, the peace talks look certain to remain stymied.

Although Mr Christopher has been keen to lower expectations of his visit to Israel, the prime objective is to agree a date for the next round of talks. Mr Christopher will also try to obtain from Mr Rabin commitments on human rights demands, to be presented to him by the Palestinian delegation. The Rabin government has prepared a list of possible human rights concessions.

Should Mr Christopher leave Jerusalem without agreement from the Palestinians to return to the talks, the other Arab partners will be presented with the decision as to whether to go alone. Differences of opinion between Syria and the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) have appeared in recent days over whether resumption of talks should be directly connected to finding a solution to the deportee affair. Syria has taken a more conciliatory line on this than the PLO.

There are fears in Jerusalem that if the US entourage receives the impression that the sides in the Palestinian conflict are not serious about achieving progress on this front, Mr Christopher may recommend that the US relax its efforts in the peace process.

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

Guru Careers: Software Developer / Web Developer

£30 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Software / Web Developer (PHP / MYSQL) i...

Guru Careers: Account Executive

£18 - 20k + Benefits: Guru Careers: An Account Executive is needed to join one...

Guru Careers: Software Developer / Software Engineer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Software Developer / Software Engineer i...

Reach Volunteering: Volunteer Trustee with Healthcare expertise

Voluntary and unpaid, reasonable expenses are reimbursable: Reach Volunteering...

Day In a Page

Raif Badawi: Wife pleads for fresh EU help as Saudi blogger's health worsens

Please save my husband

As the health of blogger Raif Badawi worsens in prison, his wife urges EU governments to put pressure on the Saudi Arabian royal family to allow her husband to join his family in Canada
Birthplace of Arab Spring in turmoil as angry Tunisians stage massive sit-in over lack of development

They shall not be moved: jobless protesters bring Tunisia to a halt

A former North African boom town is wasting away while its unemployed citizens stick steadfastly to their sit-in
David Hasselhoff's new show 'Hoff the Record': What's it like working with a superstar?

Hanging with the Hoff

Working with David Hasselhoff on his new TV series was an education for Ella Smith
Can Dubai's Design District 'hipster village' attract the right type of goatee-wearing individualist?

Hipsters of Arabia

Can Dubai’s ‘creative village’ attract the right type of goatee-wearing individualist?
The cult of Roger Federer: What is it that inspires such obsessive devotion?

The cult of Roger Federer

What is it that inspires such obsessive devotion?
Kuala Lumpur's street food: Not a 'scene', more a way of life

Malaysian munchies

With new flights, the amazing street food of Kuala Lumpur just got more accessible
10 best festival beauty

Mud guards: 10 best festival beauty

Whether you're off to the Isle of Wight, Glastonbury or a local music event, we've found the products to help you
Unai Emery’s passion for winning and eye for a bargain keep Seville centre stage in Europe

A Different League

Unai Emery’s passion for winning and eye for a bargain keep Seville centre stage in Europe, says Pete Jenson
Amir Khan and James DeGale’s remarkable Olympic performances were just the start of an extraordinary journey - Steve Bunce

Steve Bunce on Boxing

Amir Khan and James DeGale’s remarkable Olympic performances were just the start of an extraordinary journey
Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf