Israeli PM Calls on Arafat to Accept Clinton Plan
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak on Sunday urged Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat to accept a set of proposals by US President Bill Clinton seeking to forge a peace deal between the two sides.
"I hope Arafat will give a positive response" to the Clinton plan, Barak told Israeli public radio.
Barak has conditionally accepted the Clinton plan, saying Israel will agree to it if Arafat signs on too. The Palestinians, meanwhile, have asked the Clinton administration for clarifications on the proposals.
However, the Israeli leader reiterated that he will not accept Palestinian sovereignty over Jerusalem's disputed Temple Mount, a site holy to Muslims and Jews.
"But that does not mean that there won't be creative ideas" on the issue, Barak told the radio.
"We will work for an agreement with the Palestinians, but we will not sign an agreement at whatever price," he said.
A handover of the Temple Mount by Israel is a cornerstone of the Clinton proposals, along with Palestinians' renunciation of 3.7 million refugees' right to return to what is now Israel.
Under the deal, Israel would also withdraw from about 95 percent of the West Bank and Gaza Strip and give the Palestinians some control in east Jerusalem.
After Barak announced his hard-line on the Temple Mount on Friday, Arafat aide Nabil Abu Rudeina told AFP the Palestinians would not accept any deal that does not give them sovereignty over the disputed site -- JERUSALEM (AFP)
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