Barak Expected to Change Security Arrangements Agreed with the Palestinians
During his forthcoming meetings in Washington with US President Bill Clinton, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak will ask that security arrangements agreed with the Palestinians during previous negotiations be changed, following the five weeks of violence in the territories, Israeli diplomatic sources were quoted by Haaretz as saying.
They said the request will include the security agreements in force for the interim period, which collapsed during the fighting.
In addition to renewed negotiations on security, Israel is also expected to raise the issue of Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem, and provisions for their safety.
During the Camp David summit in July, Barak had agreed to grant Palestinians control over the Arab neighborhoods on the "fringe" of the city limits. However, as a result of the firing on Gilo settlement near Beit Jala town in recent weeks, Israel is now concerned about potentially new fronts being opened around Jerusalem, said the paper.
President Clinton invited Palestinian president Yasser Arafat for talks in Washington on November 9.
The two are expected to discuss ways of renewing the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians after some period of calm, said the paper.
Barak will meet Clinton next Sunday, although his trip to the US may be moved up to this Thursday.
A source told the paper, Barak is expected to ask that the talks be resumed on a framework agreement toward a final status agreement, using the bridging suggestions put forth by the Americans during Camp David.
The US administration is viewing these meetings as a way of returning the two sides to the negotiating table and reaching some agreement before Clinton's term comes to an end on January 20, said an Israeli source.
"Neither side improved its position during the past month of violence and both sides understand they are going nowhere. Arafat knows what his chances are with Clinton - he does not know what will come after him," said a senior US official.
In another development, a dispute between Israel and the US on the one hand, and the Palestinian Authority on the other, is holding up the establishment of a committee to investigate the causes of the violence in the territories, said Haaretz.
Israeli diplomatic sources said Saturday that the disagreement emerged from the appointment of former US Secretary of State, Warren Christopher, to chair the committee.
The Palestinians oppose the appointment, arguing that Christopher represents well-known "pro-Israeli" positions.
The rest of the committee members are acceptable to both sides.
They include former Senators George Mitchell and Warren Rodman, former Turkish President Suleiman Demirel, Norwegian Foreign Minister Thorbojrn Jagland, and European Union representative, Javier Solana, according to Haaretz -- Albawaba.com
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)