Palestinian President Yasir Arafat refused in a letter this week to accede to Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak’s request to link the Wye River accord to the final-status talks. But an Israeli political scientist said the issue is far from resolved.
“It’s still subject to negotiation and we won’t know the outcome for a couple of months,” said Professor Gerald Steinberg of Bar-Ilan University.
The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported Wednesday that Barak and Arafat would meet later this week in an effort to resolve their differences.
by Lawrence Cohler-Esses |
Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat ultimately will have little choice but to accept Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak’s request to delay Israel’s hand-over of West Bank territory, a prominent Palestinian analyst predicted this week.
But, warned Ghassan Khatib, director of the Jerusalem Media and Communications Center, “It will destroy the credibility, if any is left, of the Mideast peace process with the Palestinian public.”
Although Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasir Arafat has promised to spend the next two weeks considering a modification of the Wye accords, he strongly hinted that the answer would be no.
“We must see the precise, accurate implementation of agreements signed on the basis of reciprocity,” Arafat said at a joint news conference Tuesday night with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak.
Eric J. Greenberg and James D. Besser |
Striding across the opulent lobby of Manhattan’s Waldorf-Astoria Hotel last Sunday morning, Michael Sonnenfeldt, chair of the pro-peace Israel Policy Forum, spotted Malcolm Hoenlein, the top executive of the nation’s leading Jewish umbrella group — the 50-year-old Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.
“It seems like I’m always following you around,” joked Sonnenfeldt, a private investor with a linebacker’s build, extending his hand.
In meetings with President Bill Clinton in Washington this week, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak is expected to lay out his vision for cementing peace treaties with the Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese. The summit follows a week of confidence-building, ice-breaking meetings with Arab leaders that generated high expectations.
Clinton has said he has his own peace proposals, and the two men are expected to try to crystallize them all when they meet again Monday with their staffs in attendance.
Although he was on the verge of assembling a coalition government poised and committed to making peace with Israel’s Arab neighbors, Prime Minister-elect Ehud Barak appears to have glossed over domestic conflicts.
“There are a lot of conflicting interests in the coalition,” observed Gerald Steinberg, a political scientist at Bar-Ilan University in Ramat Gan. “The question is whether the parties are going to agree to disagree, or will areas of disagreement keep coming up and hobble the government.”