Oct. 8 - Even as Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak repeated his ultimatum
to Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat today, representatives for both sides
met behind the scenes to try to work out a cease-fire agreement that could
put an end to 11 days of violence.
A source close to the negotiations says representatives for Barak and
Arafat had reached a tentative agreement to end the violence but military
representatives still had to work out the details.
Palestinian sources tell ABCNEWS a summit between Barak and Arafat
may take place in Egypt as early as Tuesday, although U.S. sources say
such a fast timetable may be difficult and a meeting by midweek or later
is more likely.
In addition, U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan will be in Tel Aviv on
Monday to make a personal plea for peace.
But even as negotiations continue, Barak reiterated his threat to
Arafat that unless the Palestinian leader orders the violence to stop by
Monday evening, the Israeli leader will use full force against the rioters
in order to protect his nation's "vital interests."
"Peace is within reach but we cannot impose it on the other side,"
Barak said today during a conference in northern Israel hours before the
start of the holiest day of the Jewish year - Yom Kippur, the Day of
Annan was scheduled to leave for Israel tonight. He planned to meet
with Arafat and Barak, and to see other leaders in the region as well, a
U.N. statement said.
"In making his decision, the secretary general feels it is imperative
that he makes every possible effort to break the prevailing impasse
between Israel and the Palestinian Authority," the statement said.
Palestinians Blame Israelis
Palestinian leaders said they will not bow to threats from the Israelis
and blamed Israel for the violence.
"I think Prime Minister Barak could give one order to his own army to
remove the tanks from our neighborhood, to hold back and to stop shooting
live ammunition at our children," Palestinian legislator and spokeswoman
Hanan Ashrawi said this morning on ABCNEWS' This Week.
Palestinians say the clashes were triggered by a Sept. 28 visit by
Israeli right-wing politician Ariel Sharon to a Jerusalem holy site
revered by Muslims as Al-Haram al-Sharif, the Noble Sanctuary, and by Jews
as the Temple Mount.
"To come in, knowing that the situation is extremely volatile, that
the peace process was in a crisis - precisely over Jerusalem - to come in
with force, and you know the history of all people, you know that there is
dipping of blood [it makes you] responsible for the killing of thousands
of Palestinian refugees, " Ashrawi said.
Israel says the Palestinian protests are orchestrated from above and
that its forces are protecting Israeli citizens.
Former Brooklyn Resident Killed
Israel continued sending reinforcements to its border with Lebanon and
more clashes broke out in the occupied territories today.
Israeli soldiers found the body of a Jewish settler missing since
Saturday. Hillel Lieberman, 37, formerly of Brooklyn, N.Y., was found shot
to death in a cave near a West Bank highway, increasing the death toll in
11 days of clashes in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and Israel to 84. Most of
those killed were Palestinians.
"He was shot by Palestinians," said police spokesman Rafi Yafe of
In Nazareth, a 42-year-old Arab man died from a bullet wound to the
chest. Najib Nufed, a spokesman at Holy Family Hospital in Nazareth, said
the victim was killed during youth clashes. Police were using tear gas to
separate the sides there. Also, a bus carrying Israeli workers to the
Palestinian airport in Gaza was attacked, prompting Israel to close the
airport in response.
In Lebanon, Israeli warplanes broke the sound barrier over the
capital Beirut in the early afternoon, but did not fire. They also flew
over Sidon, the provincial capital of the south. Lebanese army troops
opened fire from anti-aircraft guns at the jets over Sidon.
The Lebanese army was placed on alert Saturday when the guerrilla
group Hezbollah captured three Israeli soldiers. A source close to
Hezbollah said the group wanted to exchange the three Israelis for 19
Lebanese prisoners and scores of detainees from the Palestinian Muslim
groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad being held in Israel. Some diplomatic
contacts were under way to try to arrange a swap.
U.N. Condemns Israel's Actions
Late Saturday, the U.N. Security Council adopted a resolution condemning
the "excessive use of force" against Palestinians. The United States,
Israel's traditional ally, abstained but did not use its veto, allowing
the measure to pass. There had been fears that a U.S. veto would have
exacerbated the violence.
Fourteen members of the U.N. Security Council voted in favor of a
resolution condemning Israel's excessive use of force and indirectly
blaming Sharon for provoking the violence.
Former Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres, also appearing on This
Week said the U.N. resolution was not "founded or based on facts."
Peres, who is dovish on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, said the
problem was not who started the conflict but "who is ready to stop. And I
can say clearly that the Israelis are ready to stop every minute."
While the Security Council debated, President Clinton was mounting an
intensive telephone diplomacy campaign to try to calm the crisis.
Secretary of State Madeleine Albright also put through a flurry of phone
Iran said it feared Israel could invade Lebanon after Hezbollah
opened a second battlefront against the Israeli army, raining shells from
Lebanon and capturing the three soldiers in a cross-border raid.
The clashes have shattered hopes that Barak and Arafat might soon
reach agreement to end the 52-year-old conflict.
"I wouldn't rush to speak of an all-out war but without a doubt we're
in a period that if the Palestinians choose confrontation, there will be a
confrontation," Maj.-Gen.Uzi Dayan, Israel's national security chief, told
'One Simple Order'
Barak said Arafat could issue "one simple order" to stop clashes, but some
political analysts question his ability to control all the protesters.
Palestinian leaders did not sound as if they were going to give in to
Barak's call for them to order an end to violence.
There was a call to arms from field leaders of Arafat's Fatah
faction, although Arafat did not sign off on the directive to prepare for
a long conflict.
Marwan Barghouti, a Fatah leader on the West Bank, said Palestinians
will not sit by and do nothing, and the situation has escalated to the
point where the Palestinian Authority can no longer control events on the
"We will not be the only side who pays the price and has the
victims," Barghouti said.
Barak's deadline for an end to the violence is set for late on Monday
following the 25-hour fast of Yom Kippur, the most sacred day of the
He noted that Israel has been through tougher times than the present,
specifically mentioning the Yom Kippur war of 27 years ago. He said Israel
prevailed then and will prevail again.
Warning to Syria
At the Lebanese border, the worst violence since Israel ended its 22-year
occupation of south Lebanon in May followed the killing by Israeli
soldiers of three Palestinians protesting inside Lebanon against the
deaths of their brethren in earlier clashes.
Barak warned Lebanon and its political mentor Syria that Israel would
"take decisive action in order to ensure the safety of Israel's northern
Syria told the United Nations and United States that Hezbollah's
attacks were legitimate.
ABCNEWS's George Stephanopoulos and Linda Albin, ABCNEWS Radio, The
Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.
Uneasy Yom Kippur
J E R U S A L E M - As Israelis began observing the holiest day in
their calendar, an uneasy calm settled over Israel, Gaza and the
Jews are in their home, as their religion demands, but Israel
is bracing itself for the possibility of more violence or even war.
Rabbis announced dispensations from fasting and prayer for
Radio and television shut down, but for the first time kept
skeleton crews should emergency broadcasts become necessary.
Observant Jews were told to leave their radios on.
Many remember another Yom Kippur not too long ago when Israel
found itself under attack by its Arab neighbors.
One Jewish settler said the holy day came just in time.
"All of the Jews can sit and pray that everything should go
much better than it's going the last few days," he said.
- Linda Albin, ABCNEWS Radio
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