it begins . . .
 

CHN Commentary 10-13-98
The Mid East March to Peace

All roads to the Wye Plantation go through the Mayo Clinic..........

Netanyahu, Arafat, and their entourages are airborne and headed to the Wye Plantation in Maryland for the start of the Washington Summit.

The Jerusalem Post is reporting in the 10/14 edition that both Yasser Arafat and Ariel Sharon will stop off at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota before the start of the summit to visit with His Majesty King Hussein.

Although the King was invited to attend the Summit in person, his chemo treatments will prevent him from doing so, but he will be briefed by the parties and visa versa, prior to the Summit commencing.

As a matter of fact, Bibi and Ariel first stopped off in Jordan to brief the Crown Prince, and then on to see the King... If there is to be a deal, it must have the Hashemite blessing.

Of course, the drama leading up to the Summit wouldn't be complete if there wasn't a last minute terrorist attack to punctuate their disagreement. Followed by Netanyahu pounding his fist and threatening that if the attackers fled into Palestinian Authority-controlled territory - as intelligence reports indicated - he would demand that PA Chairman Yasser Arafat act immediately to apprehend them.

"Without such a fulfillment of security demands, there will be no agreement, and in light of this gloomy reality, there is absolutely no chance, at this stage, of signing an agreement."

We'll have to see where this leads, but the fact remains that they'll all be at the Summit on time.......

I doubt if we will know anything of the King's conversations with Yasser and Sharon prior to the start of the Summit, but we'll be "watching for" and "reading between the lines of" any news when it does begin to surface.

Until then, we'll ....SEE YOU AT THE SUMMIT !!!

Jesus is Lord

Luke 12:37

Jerusalem Post Wednesday, October 14, 1998 24 Tishri 5759 

PM: No chance for deal right now 

By DANNA HARMAN and news agencies 

Key Statement: "....Netanyahu is scheduled to leave tonight for the three-way summit at Wye Plantation. Prior to leaving, Netanyahu - accompanied by Foreign Minister Ariel Sharon - is planning to make a quick trip to Jordan this morning. The two will meet with Crown Prince Hassan and update him on the preparations for the summit. Sharon is also planning to visit King Hussein at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota before the start of the summit...."

JERUSALEM (October 14) - There will be no deal if the Palestinians do not begin fulfilling their security commitments, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said following yesterday's attack near Moshav Ora.

In a statement released by his office, Netanyahu said that if the attackers fled into Palestinian Authority-controlled territory - as intelligence reports indicated - he would demand that PA Chairman Yasser Arafat act immediately to apprehend them.

"Without such a fulfillment of security demands, there will be no agreement, and in light of this gloomy reality, there is absolutely no chance, at this stage, of signing an agreement," he said.

US State Department spokesman James Rubin declined to comment directly on the statement, but said reaching a deal at the summit, which starts tomorrow, is not "a sure thing."

Netanyahu and Secretary of State Madeleine Albright spoke by telephone yesterday.

"One of the areas where we want to broaden the understandings and broaden the agreement is on security," Rubin said. "We made substantial and significant progress on it during the secretary's trip and in subsequent days. But we need to broaden the understandings and expand the areas of agreement in that area as well as many other areas.

"Clearly there are a large number of hurdles that have to be overcome if we are going to get any agreement," he said.

"We are in a far better position to overcome those hurdles and broaden the areas of agreement as a result of the work that's been done in recent days and weeks, but whether we will be able to do so remains an open question."

Netanyahu is scheduled to leave tonight for the three-way summit at Wye Plantation. Prior to leaving, Netanyahu - accompanied by Foreign Minister Ariel Sharon - is planning to make a quick trip to Jordan this morning. The two will meet with Crown Prince Hassan and update him on the preparations for the summit. Sharon is also planning to visit King Hussein at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota before the start of the summit.

Netanyahu goes with a series of principles, from which - so he promised the cabinet yesterday - he will not retreat.

"These are both our starting points and our end points," said a top official in the Prime Minister's Office, noting that as far as the government is concerned, most of Israel's negotiating has already been done.

"What is holding up the deal is a yes from the Palestinian side," cabinet secretary Dan Naveh said. "We have done our part."

Netanyahu promised the cabinet he would stand firm on all questions relating to the fight against terrorism, and laid out nine points detailing the specific issues on which compromise is out of the question. The cabinet, in response - and despite major reservations on the part of several ministers - decided to trust Netanyahu's word, and refrained from formally setting out parameters for the talks.

"What Netanyahu presented were enough concessions, and we will not stand for any more," said Transport Minister Shaul Yahalom. "We will not accept any amount of flexibility on any one of the points Netanyahu presented to us."

If Netanyahu backs down from any one of the principles, threatened Yahalom, the National Religious Party will vote against the agreement when it is brought to the cabinet for approval.

Sharon explained to his fellow ministers that if they have reservations regarding Netanyahu's position, they should speak up now. If Netanyahu returns from Wye Plantation with an initialed deal, he argued, it will be too late to overturn it.

"We must stand up for our demands now," he said. "Don't think you will have room to maneuver later, because you won't. So if you want, now is the time to reign us in: Shackle our hands and our legs now and tell us what your parameters are. You won't have another opportunity later."

Taking the cue, Industry and Trade Minister Natan Sharansky asked for a special meeting of the security cabinet today for a further discussion, and perhaps vote, on the negotiating points.

"The gaps remaining between us and the Palestinians are very, very large," said a Sharansky spokesman. "And there is a need to rethink this rush."

Netanyahu's office said however that no debate on the upcoming summit will take place in the security cabinet.

President Ezer Weizman, however, said he wished the delegation well, and hoped its efforts end in the addition of "another link in the chain being created this past 20 years, and which will eventually lead to peace between us and the entire Arab world."

Netanyahu sets off for Wye Plantation tonight with the following principles in hand:

1. Nothing will be agreed upon until everything is agreed. The deal must be a package, and no redeployment will take place until Israel has clear confirmation that the Palestinians are fulfilling their part of the deal.

2. The PA must fight terror by battling the bases of terror, arresting suspected terrorists and putting released terrorists back in jail.

3. There must be a Palestinian assurance of complete security cooperation with Israel.

4. A joint Israeli-Palestinian committee against incitement must be set up to monitor and fight incitement.

5. The Palestinian police force must be reduced. Today, the force stands at some 36,000. According to the Oslo Accords there should be only 24,000 police at this point. At the end of the redeployments the Palestinians are to be allowed a total of 30,000 police.

6. Illegal weapons held by Palestinians must be confiscated and efforts to battle weapon smuggling must be made.

7. The Palestinians must extradite prisoners demanded by Israel.

8. The Palestinian Covenant must be changed by the PNC.

9. Observer committees ensuring the fulfillment of responsibilities must be set up and start working immediately.

In addition to these principles, Netanyahu is planning to demand that:

1. A date for the commencement of the final status talks be settled at the summit.

2. Only Israel should be allowed to decide on the scope of the third redeployment

3. No side should engage in unilateral actions during the final-status talks period.

Jerusalem Post 10-13-98

Arafat: No simultaneous talks on interim and final-status issues 

By STEVE RODAN and MOHAMMED NAJIB 

Key Statement: "....AP reported that Arafat will also make a special stop in Minnesota on his way to the summit to visit Jordan's King Hussein, who is under going treatment for cancer...."

JERUSALEM (October 14) - Many issues remain to be resolved in his summit with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and President Bill Clinton, Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat, who was scheduled to leave last night for a stopover in London on his way to Washington, said yesterday.

AP reported that Arafat will also make a special stop in Minnesota on his way to the summit to visit Jordan's King Hussein, who is under going treatment for cancer.

Arafat said he rejected Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's proposal to discuss simultaneously interim and final-status issues.

"The accord must be implemented as was agreed upon," he said at a joint news conference with Labor MK Shimon Peres.

Peres stressed the need for Israelis and Palestinians to reach agreement.

But Defense Minister Yitzhak Mordechai said last night that the PA must agree to Israel's demands on security cooperation before the government approves a redeployment in the West Bank.

"One of the central things we will insist upon is security cooperation," he said.

Mordechai said the Oslo Accords left gaps regarding Palestinian commitments on security. He said the January 1997 Hebron Agreement filled in some of the gaps, but the PA must commit itself to do more.

Hamas is responsible for the terrorist attack near Ora and the stabbing murder of Michal Adato last week, Mordechai said, adding that its aim is both to kill Israelis and Jews and destroy any hope for an Israeli-PA accord.

The PA is sending a large delegation to the summit. In addition to Arafat, it includes his deputy Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinian Legislative Council Speaker Ahmed Qurei, PA ministers Saeb Erekat and Nabil Shaath, PA civil aviation head Fayez Zaiden, Gen. Abdul Razik Yehya, and Gaza security chiefs Mohammed Dahlan and Amin Hindi.

Shaath said the Netanyahu government is not agreeing to convert 14.2 percent of Area B, where Israel has security authority, to Area A, where PA has full rule. Today, 3% of the West Bank is under full Palestinian control.

Another dispute, PA officials said, is over Israel's insistence that a third redeployment will be no more than 2% of the West Bank. The PA is demanding a larger withdrawal.

Shaath also said Israel is evading a US proposal to stop construction in Jewish settlements. "The dispute stems from the fact that the Israeli side does not recognize and does not accept the US initiative, which in our opinion represents the minimum required for an interim agreement, and without which we cannot move on to final status."

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CHN "Special Report" 10-14-98
The Mid East March to Peace

CHN "special report" 10-14-98

On his "quick trip" to Jordan this morning on his way to Washington, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu had positive and encouraging words for the outcome of the Summit:

"It is very clear that if the Palestinians live up to their commitments in all the fields -- but most of them touch on security -- then we shall have the ability to conclude a successful agreement for advancing the peace," he said. 

With Prince Hassan standing at his side, the Prime Minister sounded upbeat and reassuring.....

So, it's on to the Summit.........

Jesus is Lord..!!

CNN 10-14-98

Web posted at: 5:27 a.m. EDT (0927 GMT) 

Netanyahu, in Jordan, says stalemate could be broken at U.S. summit

Key Statement: "It is very clear that if the Palestinians live up to their commitments in all the fields -- but most of them touch on security -- then we shall have the ability to conclude a successful agreement for advancing the peace," he said. 

AMMAN, Jordan (AP) -- The upcoming Israeli-Palestinian summit in the United States could break the stalemate in the Mideast peace process, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday. 

"I believe every person in the Israeli government and in the Israeli people hopes this (summit) will succeed," Netanyahu told reporters after a 90-minute meeting with Jordan's Crown Prince Hassan, who is acting as regent while King Hussein is abroad. 

Netanyahu returned home by helicopter afterward to fly to the United States, where he is due to start intensive negotiations Thursday with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat in a resort outside Washington. 

"It is very clear that if the Palestinians live up to their commitments in all the fields -- but most of them touch on security -- then we shall have the ability to conclude a successful agreement for advancing the peace," he said. 

Netanyahu said the Hebron accord signed last year with the Palestinians provided a mechanism for fighting terrorism, which has imperiled not only Israeli security, but could also "take root in the Palestinian population."

U.S. President Bill Clinton is hosting the four-day summit which will discuss a longstanding U.S. proposal for Israeli troops to withdraw from an additional 13 percent of the West Bank. 

The Palestinians have accepted the plan, but Israel has proposed a modification in terms of which 3 percent of the land handed-over will remain effectively under its control. 

Arafat visited Jordan on Monday for similar consultations. 

Standing next to Netanyahu, Hassan said Israel and the Palestinians should move swiftly toward a final settlement with the Palestinians so that Israel can conclude similar agreements with Lebanon and Syria. 

Jordan, which signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1994, is pushing for a settlement of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the core of the Arab-Israeli dispute. 

Netanyahu's visit to Jordan is the first since relations chilled in September 1997 after a botched attempt by the Israeli secret service to kill a Palestinian militant leader in Jordan.

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CHN "Special Report" 10-15-98
The Mid East March to Peace

CHN "special report" 10-15-98

After some brief opening remarks by President Clinton at the White House to the effect that it's time to break the logjam, it was off to the Wye Plantation for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat.

The talks are scheduled to run through Sunday, and if we are to believe both CNN and the Jerusalem Post, an agreement is pretty much in hand.

The Palestinians have come prepared with a detailed security plan that Israel seems willing to accept, and that being the major sticking point for Israel, it would seem then that a deal is attainable. And if that is the case then final status talks will commence.

The following articles give reason to be optimistic, so until we learn differently we'll look forward to a signing of the agreement possibly on Monday, and an announcement of when the final status talks will begin.

We'll be "watching".........

Jesus is Lord

Luke 12:37

Jerusalem Post Friday, October 16, 1998 26 Tishri 5759 Clinton: Break the logjam 

By HILLEL KUTTLER and DANNA HARMAN 

Key Statement: "....Pronouncements of optimism were the ongoing theme here yesterday. Channel 2 reported from the US that an agreement had already been prepared for signing on Monday...."

QUEENSTOWN, Maryland (October 16) - US President Bill Clinton yesterday called on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat to make the compromises necessary to "break the logjam" and produce a "meaningful and enduring agreement" at their summit.

Pronouncements of optimism were the ongoing theme here yesterday. Channel 2 reported from the US that an agreement had already been prepared for signing on Monday.

Defense Minister Yitzhak Mordechai, meanwhile, decided late last night to postpone his trip to the US. His spokesman, Avi Benayahu, said the decision was taken in light of the sensitive security situation. He said instead of leaving last night, he would be going tomorrow night and joining the Wye Plantation talks on Sunday morning.

Following a 45-minute morning meeting with Netanyahu and Arafat in the Oval Office, Clinton escorted them onto a podium in the Rose Garden, where he warned them publicly to look at the bigger picture of attaining peace and a "genuine Israeli-Palestinian partnership that will stand the test of time."

"We have come with the intention of reaching an agreement," Netanyahu later told reporters. "We have 100 percent good intentions."

"I can give 100% effort [in fighting terrorism], but no one in the world can give 100% results," said Arafat.

Netanyahu and Arafat, speaking separately with reporters as they left the grounds, repeated their respective demands for tighter security and land as conditions for success at the summit.

While Clinton stayed behind, Netanyahu and Arafat flew by separate helicopters to the Wye River Conference Center. Clinton later rejoined them. He was scheduled to eat dinner with the parties before returning Washington.

As he left the White House, Netanyahu cautioned his right-wing coalition partners to rethink their opposition to a redeployment accord, warning them that if they topple the government, a "left-wing body would replace it, which would retreat from 100% of the territories."

Arafat stated that he had received assurances from the administration that an understanding regarding the third and final redeployment must be part of the interim accord being negotiated.

Arafat said he is "as optimistic as always" and prepared to stay as long as it takes to achieve an agreement, but Netanyahu said he would only remain until Monday so he can open the Knesset session on Tuesday. He said he is willing to return if necessary.

"We come with the best intentions. We hope there will be an accord," Netanyahu said. "If we're asked to give additional territory, we have to assure that that that territory will not become a base and a haven for terrorists to attack us."

"We must remember... that peace is more than a process. It is, in the end, a destination. These two leaders have the power to lead their people to peace," Clinton told reporters.

He called on the two to see each other "with mutual respect and understanding," because otherwise "there can be no honorable, principled compromise."

"As in any difficult problem, neither side can expect to win 100% of every point, but concessions that seem hard now will seem far less important in the light of an accord that moves Israelis and Palestinians closer to lasting peace, closer to a day where the people of Israel can have the safety and security they have been denied for too long, closer to the day when the Palestinian people can realize their aspirations to be free and secure, and able to shape their own political and economic destinies," Clinton said.

He also exhorted them to achieve the accord in order to neutralize "extremists on both sides."

While the US will exert all its efforts to bring these talks to fruition, "in the end, it is up to the leaders standing with me today, to their courage, their vision, their determination and a shared understanding that their future must be shared in peace," he said.

Netanyahu reiterated that Israel would be willing to make the promised redeployment, if and when the Palestinians commit themselves to fulfilling the security demands being made of them. "We are all taking risks, but I am not willing to take an uncalculated risk," he added.

Fighting terrorism, conceded Arafat, is of supreme importance, but terror is not to be equated solely with Palestinian terror. "The world is witness to our fight against terror," said the chairman. "But I must remind you that some of the extremist gangsters have killed my partner [Yitzhak] Rabin," and that, before turning to the Palestinians with demands, the Israelis would have to arrest the "settlers who have killed Palestinian women and children."

After the brief White House ceremony, the sides set off to Wye Plantation, where they are scheduled to spend the weekend away from the public eye. Bilateral meetings between Arafat, Netanyahu, Clinton, and Secretary of State Madeleine Albright were to begin early yesterday evening.

"There is hard work ahead if we are to reach an agreement... Our entire team [is] ready to do whatever we can. We are ready to get to work," Clinton told the opening session at Wye Plantation.

The delegations sat along three sides of a large wood-panelled room, the Americans in the center, the Israelis and Palestinians to each side.

Clinton said all parties would limit their contacts with the media. "All of us are determined to keep our energies focused on the talks themselves. Therefore we have agreed to confine our dealings with the media... to periodic briefings to be conducted by spokespersons," he said.

Clinton has cleared his schedule for meetings at Wye today, and said he will be joining the talks sporadically in the following days. No meetings are planned for tomorrow, and one of the conference rooms was transformed into a synagogue so that those members of the Israeli delegation observing Shabbat would be able to stay the weekend.

Cabinet secretary Dan Naveh told Israeli reporters that Netanyahu would be ready to leave without a deal, if the deal were bad for Israeli security.

"There won't be a deal at any price. The goal is to reach a good agreement. It can be reached if the Palestinians are ready to meet their commitments," he said.

Albright will take the lead day-to-day role, with appearances by Clinton when necessary.

She said she and Clinton could make suggestions and cajole, "but at the end of the day, it's the leaders themselves who are really going to have to make the tough decisions."

US officials warned that the peace process faces a "looming disaster" unless there was speedy progress because of a May 4 deadline for a final agreement and Arafat's threat to declare a Palestinian state in the absence of a final accord.

The summit is modelled on the marathon Egyptian-Israeli negotiation at the presidential retreat at Camp David in 1978 and the Bosnian peace talks at an air force base near Dayton, Ohio, in 1995.

CNN October 15, 1998

Middle East peace talks begin in Maryland

Key Statement: ".... Although there is no firm timetable for the talks, U.S. officials said they most likely would run through Sunday. By then, both the Israelis and Palestinians expect to have a deal, CNN has learned...." 

QUEENSTOWN, Maryland (CNN) -- Israeli and Palestinian negotiators and U.S. mediators are meeting behind closed doors at a picturesque Maryland resort, trying to reach an agreement to reignite the stalled Middle East peace process. 

Sitting around a U-shaped table with Palestinians on one side, Israelis on the other and Americans in between, delegates to the peace summit -- including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat -- were welcomed to the Wye River Conference Centers late Thursday afternoon by U.S. President Bill Clinton. 

"There is hard work ahead if we are to reach an agreement here," said Clinton, who was scheduled to meet with each side separately and then attend a joint dinner before returning to the White House. "We have a lot of work to do, a limited amount of time to do it in, but we're ready to get to work." 

After the brief welcoming ceremony, media representatives were shown to the door. 

"All of us are determined to keep our energies focused on the talks themselves. Therefore, we have agreed to confine our dealings on this subject with the media to periodic briefings to be conducted by spokespersons," Clinton said. 

Summit runs through Sunday

The location for the summit is on Maryland's Eastern Shore, about 70 miles (112 kilometers) from Washington. Although there is no firm timetable for the talks, U.S. officials said they most likely would run through Sunday. 

By then, both the Israelis and Palestinians expect to have a deal, CNN has learned. 

Earlier in the day, Clinton met with Netanyahu and Arafat in the Oval Office, and the three came outside the White House for a joint appearance. 

The summit "offers the parties a chance to break the logjam," Clinton said. "These two leaders have the power to lead their people to peace." 

Assembled together, the three leaders did not discuss the key issue -- further Israeli troop withdrawals from the West Bank in exchange for stricter Palestinian measures against terrorism. 

But afterward, Netanyahu told reporters that if the upcoming summit succeeds, "then we'll enter final status talks" for a full Israeli-Palestinian peace accord. 

Arafat, who then held his own impromptu news conference, echoed Netanyahu's public optimism that the summit would end successfully. But when asked about Netanyahu's demand for a crackdown on anti-Israeli terrorists, the Palestinian leader suggested there are militants on both sides. 

"Some of the extremists ... have killed my friend Rabin," he said, referring to former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, who was gunned down in 1995 by Yigal Amir, a Jew opposed to Rabin's peace moves. 

Palestinians float security plan

CNN has learned that the Palestinians have, in secret meetings with the Israelis, presented a concrete plan for fighting Islamic violence against Israel, which includes a crackdown on Islamic military organizations and the collection of illegal weapons. 

The Palestinian proposals are expected to be folded into an existing American blueprint for security cooperation between Israel and the Palestinians. 

Netanyahu has made enforceable security guarantees the prerequisite for transferring an additional 13 percent of land in the West Bank to Palestinian control. 

U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said the Clinton administration, working with Israel, is developing "a parallel process" in which security measures by the Palestinians would be coordinated with an Israeli pullback on the West Bank. 

She called security the essential "building block" of the agreement the administration is trying to nail down and said "there has to be a lot of effort" by the Palestinians to back up promises to combat terrorism. 

"We're trying to make the promises as concrete as possible," Albright said.

The Middle East peace process, which has been at a standstill for 19 months, faces a deadline of May 1999, when a temporary agreement between Israel and the Palestinians expires. The 1993 interim agreement was reached during secret negotiations in Oslo, Norway.

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CHN COMMENTARY 10-17-98
The Mid East March to Peace

CHN Commentary 10-17-98

So how's it goin' at the "Wye"......???? A little "testy" to say the least.....!!!!

Under the cover of a news black-out, the only real word that has come out on the negotiations at the Wye Summit relates the level of tension that continues to exist between these ageless enemies who are trying to make peace.

On Thursday evening, as each side broke up into their respective committees to begin addressing the "hard" issues, Palestinian negotiators said officials meeting to discuss security issues abruptly ended their talks after a heated exchange, which they said was sparked by a "provocative" comment by an Israeli official. 

As the saying goes......"boys will be boys" !!!!!!

But this meeting of the "boys" is being arbitrated by the "girls", in the person of Madeline Albright under the direction of President Clinton. And judging by the words of one of the Palestinian officials the mood is very serious:

"President Clinton gave us and the Israelis an ultimatum until Tuesday ... He said there should be no fragmentation, that by Tuesday there should be complete success or failure."

So, initially the word was that by Sunday things should be wrapped up and the ceremonial signing would take place on Monday. Now, that has been pushed to Tuesday, and the word "ultimatum" seems to set a different mood.

If this were a movie we were watching, this is where we would hear the faint music in the background playing the theme of the Lone Ranger, and it would continue to get louder as it reached the part where the words say, "out of the West comes the sound of the galloping hoofbeats of the "man on the white horse" with his faithful Indian companion, Tonto.............

Only in the movies....right?? 

WRONG.........!!!!!!!!!!

For...... out of the Mayo Clinic comes the sound of the galloping hoofbeats of His Majesty King Hussein with his faithful Israeli companion, Ariel Sharon. ( click here for Picture: http://www.chn-net.com/news/pp.html )

........and we hear the voice of the King [and we quote from the Jordan Times ] as he says to Ariel, "go to the Wye and help reach the final status negotiations and put the peace process back on track...." 

Friday Ariel Sharon visited King Hussein at the Mayo Clinic and received this exact request.

Originally we were told that Sharon would stop on Wednesday to visit the King on his way to the Wye . That didn't happen. Ariel stayed in Israel until yesterday when he and Defense Minister Yitzhak Mordechai flew to the US. They won't go to the Wye until Sunday.

Incidentally, Arafat didn't visit the King prior to the Summit either. The King asked him to postpone his visit until Saturday so as to get an update on negotiations. Now the King has asked Yasser to wait longer until he visits him to get his update......... Must not have much to tell him yet..!!

But, the King has been a very busy boy as an absentee "peacemaker"...!!!

He has been on the phone with Madeline, Clinton, Yasser, Bibi, Tony Blair, Hosni Mubarak, and his new Prime Minister Fayez Tarawneh.......all in the name of peace. What'a guy...!!!! 

Is the "deal", that three days ago we were lead to believe was just waiting to be signed, falling apart..??

Not if Israeli public opinion has any say in the matter. The latest poll shows that 82 per cent of Israelis hope the summit meeting will end in agreement, and that 57 per cent favour handing over 13 per cent of the territory.

And now the European Union's (EU) special envoy for the Middle East, Moratinos said he would be going to Washington on Saturday to push the EU's role in the summit.

Naturally the pressure is building but chances for agreement are still "odds on".

.......but the Devil will do all he can to blow it apart.

"....we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against powers and principalities in high places..."

If this next "window" is the Rapture window, then come Tuesday, in order for it to have a reasonable chance, they'll have to sign on the dotted line..!!!

Needless to say......we'll be "watching".

Jesus is truly the Lord...!!!

Luke 12:37 

Jordan Times 10-17-98

King closely following progress of Wye talks

Agencies

Key Statement: "....Also Friday, King Hussein received Israeli Foreign Minister Ariel Sharon who wished His Majesty a speedy recovery and safe return home. 

King Hussein asked the Israeli minister to help reach the final status negotiations and put the peace process back on track...." 

HIS MAJESTY King Hussein was following closely the latest developments in the crucial Palestinian-Israeli peace talks launched on Thursday in Wye Plantation, Maryland, by U.S. President Bill Clinton in Wye Mills, Maryland. 

On Friday, His Majesty telephoned Palestinian President Yasser Arafat who briefed him on the progress of the talks. 

The Palestinian president was scheduled to visit the King, who is receiving treatment at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, on Wednesday upon his arrival in the U.S. after stopping in London. The visit was postponed till Saturday morning. 

But at a request from U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who telephone the King earlier, His Majesty asked the Palestinian president to postpone the visit to a later time to maintain the momentum of the peace talks. 

Albright briefed King Hussein on the latest developments in the talks. 

Also Friday, King Hussein received Israeli Foreign Minister Ariel Sharon who wished His Majesty a speedy recovery and safe return home. 

King Hussein asked the Israeli minister to help reach the final status negotiations and put the peace process back on track. 

The meeting was attended by Their Royal Highnesses Prince Hamzeh and Princess Haya as well as Mrs. Sharon. 

The King also exchanged views on the phone with British Prime Minister Tony Blair on bilateral relations and on the latest developments regarding Palestinian-Israeli talks. 

On Thursday, King Hussein and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak exchanged views on the Wye talks and the latest developments in the Syrian-Turkish dispute. 

Earlier Thursday, Prime Minister Fayez Tarawneh and Foreign Minister Abdul Ilah Khatib concluded a visit to Cairo after holding talks with Mubarak and senior Egyptian officials. 

Tarawneh briefed the Egyptian leadership on talks last week with Arafat and Netanyahu. He also expressed the Kingdom's “appreciation” of Egypt's efforts to mediate between Syria and Turkey. 

Khatib, meanwhile, said that Egyptian Foreign Minister Amr Musa is expected in Amman on Oct. 24 for high-level talks. 

Also, the Jordanian-Egyptian Higher Committee will be meeting in Amman November 15-16, to discuss prospects for establishing a free trade zone between the two countries, among other issues, Khatib said. 

Before leaving Cairo, Tarawneh said he was optimistic about the Wye Plantation talks between the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) and Israel. 

“We are optimistic, but cautious because everything depends on the negotiations,” Tarawneh said. 

“We found the two sides in better moods....we noticed the mood is more positive...We've felt that the Israelis plan to enter (the negotiations) seriously. This time we found there are points of agreement,” Tarawneh added. 

However, he advised the Palestinians not to dwell on the details at this week's U.S.-brokered peace summit. 

“The Palestinian side should look at the whole picture and not balk at details. Stopping at small points will lead to the collapse of the process,” Tarawneh said, according to Reuters. 

On Friday, Tarawneh said in a newspaper interview that Jordan wants security guarantees not only for the Israelis but also for the Palestinians and other peoples because the region requires comprehensive security, including economic and social security. 

“We felt through contacts with the Israelis that there is a big chance for the success of the current peace efforts if the security matters are agreed on. It is hoped that the talks on security matters at the Wye Plantation summit will succeed,” said Tarawneh in an interview published by Al Ittihad newspaper in Abu Dhabi. 

He reiterated Jordan's readiness to offer all possible support for the Palestinians but not to substitute for them in any negotiations. 

Referring to the so-called alternative homeland for the Palestinians in Jordan, the prime minister said: “I tell those who peddle the idea that the Palestinian aspirations lie on the western side of the River Jordan, not on the east of it. The idea of an alternative homeland has vanished for ever. The Palestinians assume the task of achieving their legitimate rights and goals. Jordan is an independent and sovereign country and its relations with the Palestinian National Authority are clear.” 

“With the signing of a Jordanian-Israeli peace treaty the common borders have been demarcated and the documents have been deposited with the U.N. This means that the boundaries between Jordan and Israel and the Palestinian territories constitute international borders and not mere ceasefire lines.” 

Asked about his views regarding the convening of an Arab summit, the prime minister said: “We in Jordan support every Arab meeting and we never missed a summit meeting because we are for consensus. But unfortunately there are different views concerning the summit and the Arab leaders are split over what should be discussed at such a summit.” 

“It is regrettable to say that inter-Arab differences are great and they focus mainly over border, the view towards the peace process, the situation in Iraq, the African question and many other issues,” he said. 

“We are for a summit provided ample preparations are made for it,” Tarawneh said. 

Referring to the recent escalation of media campaigns between Jordan and Syria, he said that “the Syrians have been casting suspicion on our national stand while we continue to move and offer positive proposals to the Syrians.” 

“For more than a year now we have been facing the escalation of Syrian media campaigns against Jordan and people are asking for how long can we remain silent,” said the prime minister. 

He added: “We have called for meetings with the Syrians but we failed to get an answer. They have been trying to change the facts on the ground through fabricating history and casting doubts about our national stands. All this requires from us to reply to such attitude. Jordan hosts nearly 125,000 Syrians working and living in Jordan and in contrast Syria holds 742 Jordanians in prison.” 

The prime minister said: “When a persona non grata tries to enter a country he is normally told that he is not welcomed and should return home. But people should not be held in detention without trial.” 

Tarawneh disclosed new facts by saying: “A number of Jordanians who hold official positions in the country have vanished for months and no one knows anything about their whereabouts.” 

Jordan Times 10-17-98

Clinton gives Israeli, Palestinian leaders a Tuesday deadline to reach a new peace accord

Key Statement: "...."President Clinton gave us and the Israelis an ultimatum until Tuesday ... He said there should be no fragmentation, that by Tuesday there should be complete success or failure...." 

WYE MILLS (R) — Israeli and Palestinian negotiators began a second day of high-stake peace talks at a secluded estate in Maryland Friday under the watchful and impatient eye of U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. 

A senior Palestinian official said the negotiators, led by Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Yasser Arafat, made no headway Thursday despite the presence of U.S. President Bill Clinton. 

Clinton urged them to tie up all loose ends, staying at the estate if necessary until Tuesday, the official said. 

The U.S. president has brought the Middle East leaders together at Wye Plantation on the eastern shore of the Chesapeake Bay in the hope that long and intensive talks out of the public eye will break a 19-month deadlock. 

The target is an agreement on Israeli withdrawal from 13 per cent of the West Bank, coupled with security steps by the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) to protect Israelis from attack. 

“There's no progress on any of the issues so far,” the Palestinian official, who declined to be identified, said. 

Albright, who is overseeing the talks, was expected to hold a three-way meeting later in the day with Netanyahu and Arafat, Israeli sources said. 

Clinton told the delegations they might think about adding two days to their stay at the plantation, the Palestinian official said. The United States had said talks would probably end Sunday. 

The president also told them it would be a failure if the Israelis and Palestinians did not agree on the whole agenda, which includes a range of disputes left over from previous stages of a peace process that started in 1993, he added. 

“President Clinton gave us and the Israelis an ultimatum until Tuesday ... He said there should be no fragmentation, that by Tuesday there should be complete success or failure. 

“There should be no issues delayed or moved to other phases,” the Palestinian official said. 

Israeli delegates declined to comment on this Palestinian account, citing an agreement not to leak substance to the media. But if leaks start, the Israelis may have to reciprocate, one Israeli source said. 

Friday morning the delegations broke up into groups specialising in security, economic issues, an airport in Gaza and setting up a safe passage for Palestinians between Gaza and the West Bank, Israeli delegation sources said. 

The three were probably to have lunch together at Netanyahu's quarters at River House, a few hundred yards (metres) from Houghton House, the Georgian-style country house where Arafat and his team are staying, the sources said. 

Clinton kicked off the conference Thursday with a brief public speech admonishing the negotiators to end the stalemate and make strides toward peace. 

“There is hard work ahead if we are to reach an agreement,” Clinton told the opening session. 

He earlier urged them to “break the logjam” in the peace process. “Too much time has already been lost,” he said. 

Clinton then had five meetings with Arafat and Netanyahu, either separately or together, and committees worked late into the evening, Palestinian spokesman Marwan Kanafani said. 

The three leaders shared dinner before the president headed home to Washington around midnight (0400 GMT). 

Thursday night a U.S. spokesman said the talks opened in a “constructive and pragmatic atmosphere,” although only a few hours had passed before negotiators reported the first heated exchange over the particularly thorny issue of security. 

But Palestinian negotiators said officials meeting to discuss security issues abruptly ended their talks Thursday evening after a heated exchange, which they said was sparked by a “provocative” comment by an Israeli official. 

Israeli Commerce and Industry Minister Natan Sharansky joined the Israeli delegation Friday morning, delegation sources said. 

New Foreign Minister Ariel Sharon and Defence Minister Yitzhak Mordechai will join by Sunday. 

According to a poll published in Israel Friday, most Israelis want the summit to produce a deal.

Jordan Times 10-17-98

Peres, Moratinos optimistic about talks

Key Statement: "....Moratinos, who is based in Nicosia, said he would be going to Washington on Saturday to push the EU's role in the summit at Wye Plantation in Maryland. 

"During my stay in Washington, I will try, if the parties ask me, to help facilitate the conclusion of an accord," he told AFP...."

FORMER ISRAELI Prime Minister Shimon Peres said on Friday he believed there was “more than a fair chance” a peace deal would be clinched at the Middle East summit under way in the United States. 

“I think if nothing unexpected will happen, there will be an agreement. The three parties, each of them, may have different reasons to reach an agreement but the conclusion is the same,” he told Reuters. 

“I think there is more than a fair chance they will reach an agreement,” said Peres, who as Israel's foreign minister received the 1994 Nobel Peace Prize along with the late Israeli leader Yitzhak Rabin and Palestinian President Yasser Arafat. 

In Nicosia, the European Union's (EU) special envoy for the Middle East said he was moderately optimistic about the chances of a breakthrough at the summit. 

“If there are some good dynamics in the talks, I believe we can reach an accord, which has been hoped for and supported by the European Union since the U.S. initiative was launched,” Miguel Angel Moratinos told AFP. 

“If there is an agreement, it will be a comprehensive accord,” he said. 

Moratinos, who is based in Nicosia, said he would be going to Washington on Saturday to push the EU's role in the summit at Wye Plantation in Maryland.

“During my stay in Washington, I will try, if the parties ask me, to help facilitate the conclusion of an accord,” he told AFP.

Jordan Times 10-17-98

'Most Israelis are for concessions at Wye summit'

Key Statement: "....The newspaper Maariv published a Gallup poll that said 57 per cent of Israelis favour handing over 13 per cent, while 30 per cent are opposed. The poll also showed that 82 per cent of Israelis hope the summit meeting will end in agreement, but only 52 per cent believe it will...." 

TEL AVIV (AP) — By a margin of nearly two to one, Israelis back an American proposal for Israel to turn over another 13 per cent of the West Bank as part of an agreement with the Palestinians, an Israeli newspaper reported Friday. 

The Palestinians accepted the American proposal last March. 

Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu, after initially rejecting the proposal, eventually agreed, on condition that three per cent of the area be set aside as a nature reserve in which Israel retains full security control for the time being. 

The newspaper Maariv published a Gallup poll that said 57 per cent of Israelis favour handing over 13 per cent, while 30 per cent are opposed. 

The Israeli withdrawal is a key element in a series of interim peace agreements between Israel and the Palestinians. 

The last one was signed in January 1997. They call on Israel to hand over all of the West Bank to Palestinian civilian control in three stages, except for occupied Jerusalem, Israeli settlements and designated military locations. But none of the pullbacks has been implemented. 

U.S. officials say the focus of the summit at Wye Plantation is reaching agreement on the size of the withdrawal, while reassuring Israel about security issues. 

The poll also showed that 82 per cent of Israelis hope the summit meeting will end in agreement, but only 52 per cent believe it will. 

One thousand Israeli adults were questioned for the poll. The paper said the margin of error is 3.2 per cent.

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CHN COMMENTARY 10-20-98
The Mid East March to Peace

CHN Commentary 10-20-98

The sound of those "galloping hoofbeats" can now be heard very clearly in Maryland as Jordan's King Hussein has climbed out of his hospital bed at the Mayo Clinic, mounted his "white horse", and has ridden it to his Maryland residence where he is waiting in the wings to personally enter into the negotiations "if needed". 

And it seems very likely that he will be needed as Monday's session was abruptly halted on the news of another terrorist attack in Israel. A Palestinian threw two hand grenades in a Beersheba bus station and wounded 67 people.

The Israeli side quickly announced that all other issues other than security would be suspended, and that Arafat must specifically define his plans to halt these terrorists or no agreements can be reached.

President Clinton was summoned. Private meetings were held between he and Bibi, and he and Yasser; and then the three of them met, Madeline called the King and he mounted up, and Ariel Sharon readied his security maps of the disputed territory in anticipation of the King's arrival. In this phase of the agreement, security is the key issue and Ariel holds that key.........

Because events are moving very quickly, conclusions to these issues and the agreement itself could be in hand as you are reading this, or the total "blow up" of the negotiations may have occurred, but we will continue our reporting as necessary. 

This is a good time to stop and reflect on how "in control" our God is, and how real He is through His word and by His word coming to pass...

To realize that through Daniel [etc.], God defined how it would be on the stage of history in the "last days", and to now be "watching" it come to pass with such precision that we can watch this meeting in Maryland knowing that "if" this is the time to strike the bargain and move on to final status then the bargain will be struck.

And even more revealing is to know who the "peacemaker" individual is, and how he is poised in the wings, prepared to gain on his ascendancy to his eventual crown. 

The mere fact that this "scene" is taking place [whether it be a dress rehearsal or the real thing] should be understood as a blessing to us, His faithful "watchers", and act to deepen our faith in Him...

This is quite an amazing time to be "watching"........!!!!!!!!!!

Jesus is Lord.......

Luke 12 :37

CNN October 19, 1998 

Jordan's king in Washington area, possible summit role

Key Statement: "...."We would certainly want the king to play whatever role he'd think is best. But I don't think we've determined specifically that," the spokesman said...." 

WYE MILLS, Maryland (Reuters) -- Jordan's King Hussein, a key figure in Mideast peace efforts who is receiving cancer treatment in Minnesota, arrived in the Washington area on Monday and officials said he would be available to intervene if needed in the deteriorating Mideast peace summit.

"The question of what role he would play has not been determined yet," State Department spokesman James Rubin told a news briefing. 

"We regard him as a very constructive influence," added Rubin, specifically citing the monarch's role in encouraging a 1997 Hebron accord that transferred control of the West Bank city from Israel to the Palestinians. 

"We would certainly want the king to play whatever role he'd think is best. But I don't think we've determined specifically that," the spokesman said. 

Jordan's embassy in Washington confirmed that the king had arrived in the Washington area and was staying at his residence in nearby Maryland. 

"His majesty is going to Washington, D.C. for a rest period. I don't know if he's going to be at Wye,"an embassy spokesman said. Wye Plantation in Maryland is the site of a peace summit involving President Bill Clinton, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Yasser Arafat. 

U.S. officials told Reuters that the king would be on "standby" to go to Wye if needed. 

The summit began with great expectations last Thursday but on Monday, after a grenade attack in Israel underscored security concerns, hopes plummeted for the kind of comprehensive land and security agreement the American hosts set as a goal. 

The 62-year-old Hussein, who has ruled Jordan for 45 years and signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1994, has been receiving treatment since mid-July at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. 

Hussein has been diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma, a type of cancer that primarily afflicts the lymph nodes and spleen. 

The king, whose country has a majority Palestinian population, might play a role in helping to encourage Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat to close a deal but "it's not really the Palestinians who need a final push," said one U.S. official, who added that the U.S. view is that problems now exist more on the Israeli side. 

Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who is chairing the peace talks, spoke to Hussein by telephone twice in recent days, Rubin said. 

Israeli Foreign Minister Ariel Sharon, who is also at Wye for the summit, flew to Minnesota to visit Hussein last Friday. 

CNN October 20, 1998 Web posted at: 2:07 a.m. EDT (0607 GMT) 

Mideast negotiators dig in, seek 'comprehensive package' 

Key Statement: "....U.S. President Bill Clinton, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat met throughout Monday and were said to be discussing a "total comprehensive package," not just a partial deal...." 

WYE MILLS, Maryland (CNN) -- Marathon Mideast peace talks carried into the early hours Tuesday with Palestinian and Israeli negotiators resuming talks on all issues, including safe passage, the Gaza airport and economic issues. 

The talks recessed around 12:30 a.m. EDT (0430 GMT) but were to resume later Tuesday as negotiators work to hammer out an interim peace deal. 

U.S. President Bill Clinton, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat met throughout Monday and were said to be discussing a "total comprehensive package," not just a partial deal. 

The three-way summit, marking the first time Netanyahu and Arafat had met since Friday, was one of the few positive signs on a day that began with a grenade attack in Israel. 

Clinton also met with Secretary of State Madeline Albright before heading back to the White House. The president canceled a planned trip to California Tuesday that was to raise money and support for Sen. Barbara Boxer and other congressional Democrats two weeks before the elections. 

"Given the importance of the issues at hand, the president and Prime Minister Netanyahu and Chairman Arafat believe it is appropriate to stay and work on these important issues," White House spokesman Joe Lockhart said. 

<Picture: Clinton>Despite Monday's attack, Clinton hopes both sides will make the 'hard decisions necessary to move this peace process forward.' (<Picture: Audio> 388 K/29 sec. AIFF or WAV sound) 

Beersheba incident a setback

State Department spokesman James Rubin described the mood at the talks as "workmanlike." 

"We do not know how or where this will end up," he said. "It is not a waste of time, but the incident in Beersheba made it more difficult to achieve the results we were trying to reach." 

The talks were rocked Monday morning when police said a Palestinian man threw two grenades at a bus stop in the southern Israeli town of Beersheba, wounding dozens of people. 

Before the trilateral talks began, both Middle Eastern leaders had a separate, half-hour meeting with the U.S. president. Clinton, Albright and National Security Adviser Sandy Berger also spent about 45 minutes in discussions with two security experts from the Israeli and Palestinian delegations. 

With interim peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians imperiled by a terror attack, Clinton flew from Washington to the summit site in Maryland, encouraging both sides "to make the hard decisions necessary" to move the process forward. 

At midmorning, following a meeting of his top advisers including hard-line Foreign Minister Ariel Sharon, Netanyahu announced the Israeli side would focus on security, setting aside all other issues. 

"The Palestinian Authority must fight terrorism in words and deeds," said Netanyahu. "Without compliance with the Palestinian security commitments, there can be no agreement." 

Arafat calls attack 'regrettable'

CNN was told Arafat had called Netanyahu Monday morning to condemn the Beersheba attack, calling it "regrettable" and promising the Palestinian Authority would investigate. 

Later, it was learned that Jordan's King Hussein had left his hospital bed at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, where he is being treated for cancer, to fly to Washington to make himself available. 

The PLO ambassador to the United States, Hassan Abdel Rahman, said the attack should serve as an incentive to accelerate the negotiations and warned the Israelis may use the incident to walk away from the talks. 

"If Mr. Netanyahu is looking for a pretext to stop the negotiations and undermine the process, he will always find one. This attack, which we have condemned, should serve as an incentive to accelerate the negotiations," said Rahman. "If this is his condition to go ahead, it reflects lack of political will to proceed with the peace process and lack of seriousness." 

Clinton conceded that the attack was a "complicating factor" but added, "I am convinced that reaching a peace between Israelis and Palestinians is the best way to ensure that terrorism has no future in the Middle East." 

He said he was returning to urge the two sides to make "hard decisions" but he warned the United States can only do so much.

"Ultimately only the parties themselves can bridge their differences and put their people on a more hopeful course," he said. 

The United States invited the two sides to Washington last week in the hope that they could settle on a proposal to move the stalled talks forward in a way that will lead to final status negotiations. 

Partial agreement considered

Over the weekend and into Monday, there appeared to be some movement. Palestinian sources said Clinton had brought to Arafat a partial agreement which the president said Netanyahu had agreed to. Arafat sent Clinton back to the Israelis, saying he wanted a complete agreement. 

The partial package would have included a 13 percent withdrawal by Israel from West Bank territory, an agreement on security issues, an agreement on the establishment of a Palestinian airport and safe passage for Palestinians. 

The partial agreement also provided for the release of a limited number of Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli custody, a Palestinian source said. 

The partial agreement did not address two key points Arafat wanted addressed, the sources said -- a third phase of Israeli troop withdrawals and the status of all Palestinian prisoners held by Israel. 

New York Times 10-20-98

Sharon's Muscle Evokes Hopes and Some Fears

By SERGE SCHMEMANN

Key Statement: "....Typically, Sharon was late to Wye because of another engagement, the 25th anniversary of the Israeli crossing of the Suez Canal in the 1973 war, which he commanded, and because his first call in the United States was on King Hussein of Jordan, who is undergoing treatment for cancer at the Mayo Clinic...." 

WASHINGTON -- The key figure at the Middle East talks on Maryland's Eastern Shore is probably not the President, nor the Prime Minister, nor even the Chairman, but a veteran of the Arab-Israeli frays who only recently became Israel's Foreign Minister and showed up at the talks two days late. 

The feelings toward Ariel Sharon, the veteran soldier and politician who was appointed Foreign Minister and chief negotiator on the eve of the Wye talks, are distinctly ambivalent. 

His appointment has raised hopes even among the most skeptical Israeli liberals that he might become the tough pragmatist with sufficient credibility among settlers and sufficient trust among Arabs to deliver what the younger and more ideological Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has not -- a functioning deal with the Palestinians. 

The hopes have been tempered by the awareness that Sharon is also a hard nationalist who was at the forefront of creating West Bank settlements in the 1970's and 1980's, who voted against his Government's decision to withdraw from most of Hebron, who has opposed any withdrawal from more than 9 percent of West Bank territory and who still regards Yasir Arafat as a terrorist whose hand he will not shake. 

What is universally accepted is that Sharon, 70, is the man who can make or break the Wye talks. 

His importance was confirmed as soon as he arrived at the conference center that stretches among the branches of the Wye River. Immediately Netanyahu took him off for a walk in the woods, presumably to get out of the range of American listening devices. That same evening, President Clinton spent 75 minutes alone with Sharon. 

Such clout is a remarkable tribute to a man held responsible for Israel's unpopular invasion of Lebanon in 1982, and who is still condemned by some as the Defense Minister who did nothing to block a massacre in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps by Phalangist Lebanese Christians. 

It is all the more remarkable because Sharon does not have a real political constituency in Israel. He barely made it into Netanyahu's Cabinet, and he has been publicly at odds with the Prime Minister. 

What Sharon does carry is the aura of a charter member of the "generation of giants," warrior-politicians like Moshe Dayan and Yitzhak Rabin who led Israel through its first 50 years in war and in peace with the same toughness, determination and fearlessness. 

In the endless ensuing disputes, Sharon has never concealed his opinions, whether of Netanyahu or the negotiations set in motion by the Oslo accords of 1993 and 1995. 

At the same time, he gained the respect of all sides by backing his arguments with detailed maps and experience that couched any concession in terms of Jewish safety, and not simply ideology. 

Typically, Sharon was late to Wye because of another engagement, the 25th anniversary of the Israeli crossing of the Suez Canal in the 1973 war, which he commanded, and because his first call in the United States was on King Hussein of Jordan, who is undergoing treatment for cancer at the Mayo Clinic. 

The delay was said to have irritated the Americans, given the amount of time President Clinton, Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright and Vice President Al Gore were investing in the meeting. 

But the show of respect for King Hussein also demonstrated Sharon's ties with a leader who could be instrumental in nudging Arafat to an agreement. Possibly as a result, King Hussein arrived in Washington today to be near the talks. 

Eitan Haber, a close friend and the last chief of staff of the late Prime Minister Rabin, was among the first in the Labor opposition to hail Sharon's appointment, which he described in an article in the Israeli newspaper Yediot Ahronot as a "brilliant move." 

Other Israelis likened Sharon's appointment to that of Moshe Dayan's when he was brought into Prime Minister Menachem Begin's Government in 1977 and played a major role in achieving the peace with Egypt. It was Sharon, Israelis noted further, who as Defense Minister was responsible for clearing Israeli settlements from the Sinai peninsula despite violent resistance from settlers. 

If an agreement is reached on withdrawals from the West Bank, many Israelis believe that Sharon is the only member of the Government who has a chance of getting it accepted by nationalist and religious Israelis. 

Yet even if Sharon's directness offered relief, there was no evidence that he would use it to advance the American agenda. The comparison with Dayan, commentators noted, overlooked the fact that Dayan was a dovish moderate brought into a rightist Government, while Sharon is a hawk whose positions have usually been to the right of Netanyahu's. 

Among those who saw Sharon's ascendance as a recipe for failure was the commentator Sever Plotzer in Yediot Ahronot. 

"It doesn't really matter what agreements Netanyahu, Arafat and Clinton hope to achieve at Wye Plantation," he wrote. "From today, all that matters is what Sharon wants." 

He continued, "And Sharon, so I assume, wants to return from America in one of two situations: either empty-handed ('We didn't capitulate to the Palestinians') or in a fit of rage ('Netanyahu capitulated to the Palestinians'). In both of these situations, he will be the winner." 

The far-right newspaper Hatzofe summed up the sentiments of Jewish settlers toward a man who is their hero and their potential scourge -- "respect him and suspect him." 

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CHN "Late Breaking News" 10-20-98
10:55 AM EDT
The Mid East March to Peace

CHN "Late Breaking News" 10-20-98 - 10.55 a.m. ET (1456 GMT)

The Associated Press is reporting that King Hussein will be joining President Clinton at the peace talks today......

Like we said in todays Commentary, things are happening fast so we'll try to keep up.........

Jesus is Lord....

Clinton joining Hussein at West Bank peace talks 

10.55 a.m. ET (1456 GMT) October 20, 1998

By Robert Burns, Associated Press

Key Statement: "...."We think he has the unique ability to bring home to the delegations the necessity for making peace,'' Rubin said...."

QUEENSTOWN, Md. (AP) — Jordan's ailing King Hussein was joining Mideast peace talks today as Israeli and Palestinian negotiators sought for a sixth day to reach a West Bank accord. President Clinton canceled a fund-raising trip to California to return to the talks at a secluded Chesapeake retreat.

"There are still gaps, significant ones,'' said State Department spokesman James P. Rubin. 

Hussein, who signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1994, "will try to use the good offices of Jordan to help bridge the gap between the two sides,'' a diplomatic source said. Hussein had been offering his advice by telephone for several days. 

The king, who is undergoing chemotherapy for cancer, could symbolize that Arabs and Israelis can join together to overcome differences. 

"We think he has the unique ability to bring home to the delegations the necessity for making peace,'' Rubin said.

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CHN "Late Breaking News" 10-20-98
12 NOON PDT
The Mid East March to Peace

CHN "Late Breaking News" 10-20-98 12:00 noon PDT

In the following CNN story regarding King Hussein joining the peace negotiations, the key word is used as to how he is viewed by both the Israelis and Palestinians......and that word is "peacemaker".

........and who becomes the Antichrist..??? The peacemaker.......!!!!! .....and who's the peacemaker.....all together now...KING HUSSEIN....!!!!!!!!

Good job.........

Jesus is Lord

CNN October 20, 1998

Jordan's King Hussein to join Mideast talks

Key Statement: "....King Hussein is currently in the United States for cancer treatment. His country has a peace treaty with Israel, and he is viewed by both Israelis and Palestinians as a peacemaker...."

WYE MILLS, Maryland (CNN) -- Middle East mediation efforts were stepped up on Tuesday as King Hussein of Jordan was expected to join the current Israeli-Palestinian summit in this secluded U.S. location. 

"We believe he can play a constructive role in the (peace) process," White House spokesman Joe Lockhart told reporters at a briefing. 

[Jerrold Kessel reports prisoners in the Middle East are anxiously waiting for a peace agreement ]

King Hussein is currently in the United States for cancer treatment. His country has a peace treaty with Israel, and he is viewed by both Israelis and Palestinians as a peacemaker. Not least because of the large number of Palestinians among his subjects, Hussein has pushed continually for a peace settlement in the West Bank and Gaza. 

No word on progress

There was no official word from the Wye conference on whether Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat had moved any closer to an agreement on how to proceed with Palestinian autonomy in the West Bank. 

"There are significant gaps between the parties," Lockhart commented, adding that U.S. President Bill Clinton was determined to help the two parties take the "hard decisions necessary to move the peace process forward." 

Clinton was to rejoin the talks early Tuesday afternoon. 

Rumors of partial agreement

The president was said to have won an agreement from Netanyahu to give up 13 percent more territory in the West Bank. 

In addition, the Israelis would turn over to Palestinian control another 14.2 percent of the West Bank that is now shared with the Palestinians. 

Arafat, sources said, had agreed to revoke the Palestinian charter with its anti-Israeli provisions. And the Palestinians reportedly also agreed to Israeli requests that they arrest 30 fugitives. 

In addition, both sides agreed to a complex and comprehensive security package. 

Both sides apparently agreed to delay consideration of a third-phase redeployment of Israeli troops, leaving that to U.S. Middle East envoy Dennis Ross for mediation at a later stage. 

Arafat has been pressing for a complete agreement. Netanyahu, sources said, also favored such an agreement if Arafat would "do his part."

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CHN "Late Breaking News" 10-20-98
8:15 PM PDT
The Mid East March to Peace

CHN "Late Breaking News"

It is 8:15pm PDT and the latest news is that a comprehensive deal is close to being finalized by tomorrow, and should that occur then a signing ceremony would take place on Thursday.

As expected, King Hussein has been instrumental in pushing both sides on the "hard" choices, and the key word describing him appears in the first article from CNN, and the word is "peacemaker"...!!!

Because we study His word, we know God has a flair for the dramatic. 

And it is certainly confirmed in the fact that King Hussein, destined to be the Peacemaker/Antichrist, stricken with cancer and undergoing chemo treatments for the past three months, rises up from his hospital bed, is flown to the Wye Plantation, and immediately rolls up his sleeves and takes on the tough issues that are most hindering the parties from coming to agreement, and as it looks now, has been successful. 

Drama that would usually be reserved for the silver screen......!!!!!!!!! Happening in real time, right before our very eyes.....because we're "watching"...!!!!!!!!

Praise the Lord....!!!!!!!!

Luke 12:37

CNN 10-20-98 Sources: Mideast peace negotiators near agreement

Signing ceremony expected Wednesday

Key Statement: "....Hussein, who has been in the United States for cancer treatment, is viewed by both sides as a peacemaker...."

WYE MILLS, Maryland (CNN) -- A comprehensive deal was close to being finalized late Tuesday at the Mideast peace summit, Israeli and Palestinian sources told CNN. 

The deal will be finished either late Tuesday or early Wednesday, with a signing ceremony expected to take place at the White House on Thursday, Israeli sources said. 

State Department spokesman James Rubin said Tuesday afternoon that the talks had reached the "endgame" stage. 

"We're into a phase of very hard bargaining. A lot of the underbrush has been cleared away," Rubin said. "Some obstacles have been overcome, but significant gaps remain." 

Jordan's King Hussein, who has good relations with both Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, raised the optimism when he joined the talks Tuesday. 

Clinton wins concessions from both sides

President Clinton, who has spent most of the last six days involved in the talks, apparently won concessions from both sides Monday. Clinton remains at the talks to try and work out the final details. 

Clinton is said to have won an agreement from Netanyahu to give up 13 percent more territory on the West Bank to the Palestinians. In addition, the Israelis would relinquish another 14.2 percent of the West Bank that it now shares with the Palestinians. 

Arafat has agreed to revoke the Palestinian charter with its anti-Israeli provisions, sources said. The Palestinians have also agreed to arrest 30 fugitives that Israel wants imprisoned. 

In addition, both sides have agreed to a complex and comprehensive security package. 

They have also apparently agreed to delay consideration of a third-phase redeployment of Israeli troops, leaving that issue to U.S. envoy Dennis Ross to mediate later. 

Finally, Palestinian sources said the issues of safe passage, a Gaza airport, the release of Palestinian prisoners, economic aid and a seaport in Gaza remained under discussion. 

King Hussein helps with 'tough choices for peace'

Hussein, who has been in the United States for cancer treatment, is viewed by both sides as a peacemaker. Jordan signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1994, and because of the large number of Palestinians among his subjects, Hussein had pushed continually for a peace settlement on the West Bank and Gaza. 

Rubin said the United States believes "the King will help bring home the importance of making tough choices for peace." 

Clinton canceled a campaign fund-raising trip to California Tuesday to return to the peace talks. 

"Given the importance of the issues at hand, the president and Prime Minister Netanyahu and Chairman Arafat believe it is appropriate to stay and work on these important issues," said White House spokesman Joe Lockhart. 

The United States invited the two sides to come to Maryland last week to consider a package of proposals that the United States hopes will move the talks forward and allow for the beginning of final status talks between Israel and the Palestinians. 

The talks are a crucial juncture in the long-stalled Mideast peace process because the parties face a May 4, 1999, deadline. If no West Bank deal emerges by then, Arafat has said he will unilaterally declare a Palestinian state -- a move of potentially explosive consequences for the region. 

Reuters Tuesday October 20 7:09 PM EDT 

King Hussein Steps In To Mediate Mideast Deal

By Wafa Amr

Key Statement: "....Diplomats said that despite his poor health, the king stepped in actively ......."

"....``He's a person with great integrity and the U.S. was hoping he would instill in the two delegations a greater understanding of the need to make the tough choices needed to reach agreement,'' said State Department spokesman James Rubin...."

WYE MILLS, Md. (Reuters) - King Hussein of Jordan, who arrived at the Middle East summit in rural Maryland Tuesday, has a long history of salvaging peace talks between Palestinians and Israelis.

Diplomats said that despite his poor health, the king stepped in actively to try to iron out last-minute disputes between Palestinian President Yasser Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

``He's a person with great integrity and the U.S. was hoping he would instill in the two delegations a greater understanding of the need to make the tough choices needed to reach agreement,'' said State Department spokesman James Rubin.

Hussein, who sealed a peace treaty with Israel in 1994, has historically been Israel's closest Arab ally.

He enjoys good relations with Israel's right wing government although he has distanced himself from Netanyahu in the past few months for the Israeli leader's hawkish policies on expansion of Jewish settlements on occupied Arab land.

The king also enjoys warm relations with hard-line Israeli Foreign Minister Ariel Sharon, considered a ``war criminal'' by many Arabs for his role in the killing of hundreds of Palestinians in Lebanon's refugee camps.

The Jordanian monarch, who is highly respected by President Clinton, is a frequent visitor to the White House. Since mid-July, he has been under treatment for cancer at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.

Arafat's relations with Hussein have fluctuated over time due to competition between them over who represents West Bank Palestinians. Jordan controlled the West Bank from 1948 until 1967 when it was occupied by Israel during the Middle East war.

Arafat has long feared Israel might seek negotiations with Jordan on the future of the West Bank. This feeling intensified after Netanyahu ousted the dovish Labor Party in 1996 elections and Israeli-Palestinian peace moves hit an impasse due to his hard-line policies.

Diplomats said Israel is keen to have Hussein join the Palestinians in negotiating the West Bank's fate.

But Palestinian officials said the king's intervention at the Wye summit, and his success in bridging gaps between Netanyahu and Arafat in the 1997 Hebron peace deal, reassured Arafat that the Palestinian leader alone was Israel's partner in any interim or final status peace talks.

``We have an understanding with Jordan that they will not participate in our final status talks with Israel. If there are final status issues that concern them such as refugees, borders, water and Jerusalem, we will negotiate but we will coordinate positions with them,'' a senior Palestinian official told Reuters.

Jordanian lawmakers have said a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians was in Jordan's interest. Over half of the kingdom's population are of Palestinian origin and any instability in the West Bank and Gaza would spill over to Jordan. A peace deal would serve the king's domestic needs.

Palestinian officials said they would ask Hussein to persuade Netanyahu to release thousands of Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails and to guarantee that if an accord was struck, it would be implemented without delays.

``Anyone who can advance the negotiations is welcome. They say he has a magic touch. The question is what he can bring,'' an Israeli official said.

Reporters and photographers covering the Wye summit were prevented from seeing the ailing king or taking pictures of his arrival from his home near Washington. Most information on the monarch came through his American hosts.

Officials who met the king recently said that due to the chemotherapy used for treating his cancer, the monarch looked very thin, very tired and was bald.

Reuters Tuesday October 20 4:22 PM EDT 

Clinton, King Hussein Push For Deal At Mideast Summit

By Wafa Amr

Key Statement: "....Shortly after arriving, Clinton was to meet Jordan's King Hussein who also joined the summit Wednesday. ``The king enjoys enormous respect in the region and has played an important role in the peace process,'' White House spokesman Joe Lockhart said.

U.S., Palestinian and Israeli sources said both sides were working to secure a comprehensive interim agreement that would be a prelude to ultimate ``final status'' talks on a permanent peace settlement...."

WYE MILLS, Md. (Reuters) - Israeli and Palestinian leaders dug in for serious negotiations on the sixth day of a Middle East summit Tuesday, with President Clinton again taking the ringmaster role.

Officials from both sides said a more businesslike approach had returned after belligerent exchanges Monday following a Palestinian guerrilla attack on a bus station in Beersheba that injured over 60 people.

``We're into a phase of very hard bargaining. Part of the underbrush has been cleared away,'' State Department spokesman James Rubin told reporters.

``It's part of the end game that is getting more and more serious. Some obstacles have been overcome but significant gaps remain,'' Rubin said as both sides worked on drafting agreements at the Wye Plantation, a complex of meeting places and residences in lush farmland 70 miles (110 km) east of Washington.

Clinton, who brought Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Yasser Arafat and their main aides together Monday evening, joined the talks at 1 p.m. EDT (1700 GMT) after canceling a trip to California.

He has attended for five of the last six days, an extraordinary commitment of presidential time on a single initiative that has also involved almost all his top foreign policy team.

Shortly after arriving, Clinton was to meet Jordan's King Hussein who also joined the summit Wednesday. ``The king enjoys enormous respect in the region and has played an important role in the peace process,'' White House spokesman Joe Lockhart said.

U.S., Palestinian and Israeli sources said both sides were working to secure a comprehensive interim agreement that would be a prelude to ultimate ``final status'' talks on a permanent peace settlement.

Lockhart told reporters: ``Our objective remains the same, which is to reach agreement on the interim issues, so that we can move to final status talks.''

On Monday hopes had been fading for such an overall deal, with Netanyahu saying only a partial settlement might be possible and some issues still left over for further talks.

Arafat rejected that approach. Palestine Information Minister Yasser Abed Rabo told reporters: ``My fear is that there are gains being made now to lead us to a partial accord. We will reject a partial agreement ``

U.S. officials said although there was a new seriousness about the discussions, they remained cautious and did not rule out a partial deal being the best they could achieve.

``It's certainly better than it's been before but it's by no means enough to close,'' one official said.

One of the key issues at the talks is a package of measures by which Palestinian authorities will prevent attacks against Israelis by Palestinian militants. The Israelis demand this before going ahead with a second pullback in the West Bank.

A Palestinian delegate said the Israelis showed ``some understanding'' for a security plan the Palestinians have submitted. ``But they have to sit down further,'' he added.

An Israeli official said of the plan: ``The issues are not closed. There are still issues that are unacceptable to us. (Clinton) heard our demands.''

The Israelis are demanding the Palestinians dismantle the infrastructure of the Islamist movement Hamas, the armed wing of which claimed responsibility for Monday's grenade attack.

But Arafat has refused to do this, arguing that the Hamas infrastructure includes educational and charitable institutes and that the movement also operates in Israel and Jordan.

The fall-back ``partial agreement'' Israel has offered would leave out the most contentious points, such as the extent and timing of a third Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank.

Israel has withdrawn from most of the Gaza Strip and most West Bank towns since the Oslo agreement of 1993. The Palestinians have partial control in parts of the countryside.

The Israelis also want to delay decisions on safe passage for Palestinians between Gaza and the West Bank and on ''unilateral acts,'' political code for Israel's settlement policy and Palestinian plans to declare a state.

The Palestinians have repeatedly rejected the idea of a partial agreement, saying they must get commitments now.

Sources close to the talks said there had been some movement on the issue of Palestinians implicated in attacks on Israelis being transferred to Israel and on a third-stage Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank.

But they said the Israelis were refusing to drop their demand that the 700-member Palestine National Council be convened to change a Palestinian charter calling for Israel's destruction, which Arafat opposes.

Clinton met Arafat and Netanyahu for 2-1/2 hours Monday evening then held a working dinner joined by other members of Netanyahu's cabinet, including hawkish retired general Ariel Sharon, who became Israel's foreign minister this month.

Some U.S. officials said they expected talks to continue into Wednesday and, if they succeeded, a signing ceremony might take place Thursday at the White House. But they cautioned this was only a very tentative plan.

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CHN "Late Breaking News" 10-20-98
9:15 PM PDT
The Mid East March to Peace

CHN "Late Breaking News" 10-20-98 - 9:15pm PDT

Both Israeli newspapers, the Jerusalem Post and the Ha'aretz Daily News, are reporting that a deal is imminent and that a signing ceremony could happen Wednesday in Washington.

Also both papers have played up the importance of King Hussein's presence at the talks. The Ha'aretz Daily News had an interesting slant in their story when they said, 

"The Americans wielded their "heaviest gun" yesterday when it appeared the peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians took a positive turn: King Hussein of Jordan."

So now he's known as a "heavy gun"...... We still like Peacemaker/Antichrist..!!!

At any rate, it sounds like tomorrow they sign up...... We'll just see about that..!!

Jesus is Lord....

Luke 12:37

JERUSALEM POST Wednesday, October 21, 1998 1 Heshvan 5759 Last update at Wed Oct 21 01:47:10 EET 1998 Wye deal expected soon 

By DANNA HARMAN 

Key Statement: "....With the talks being extended until at least tonight, the negotiators have shifted into high gear, with an extra boost from Jordan's King Hussein's joining the mediation efforts...."

"....Channel 1 reported last night that a signing ceremony is planned for tomorrow morning...."

QUEENSTOWN, Md. (October 21) - The bargaining at Wye Plantation is "gruesome," but "there is a good chance we will clinch a deal at the last minute," a senior member of the Israeli delegation said yesterday.

Channel 1 reported last night that a signing ceremony is planned for tomorrow morning.

With the talks being extended until at least tonight, the negotiators have shifted into high gear, with an extra boost from Jordan's King Hussein's joining the mediation efforts.

Hussein, who left the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota on Monday to rest at his home near Washington, arrived at Wye Plantation yesterday afternoon. After meeting with President Bill Clinton for 20 minutes, he said he felt "positive" and "heartened by the possibility of playing a role."

After Israel threatened to cut off all talks on matters unrelated to security following Monday's Beersheba terrorist attack, talks on all matters resumed yesterday. Security, however, remained the key question.

A Palestinian delegate said the Israelis showed "some understanding" of a security plan the Palestinians had submitted. "But they have to sit down further," he added.

An Israeli official said that "the issues are not closed. There are still issues that are unacceptable to us. [Clinton] heard our demands."

The fall-back "partial agreement" Israel has offered would leave out the most contentious points, such as the extent and timing of a third withdrawal on the West Bank.

Israel also wants to delay decisions on safe passage between Gaza and the West Bank for Palestinians and on "unilateral acts," a political code for Israel's settlement policy and Palestinian plans to declare a state.

The Palestinians have repeatedly rejected the idea of a partial agreement, saying they must get commitments now.

There was talk of a four-way meeting among Clinton, Hussein, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, and Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat later yesterday.

"We expect him [Hussein] to be a key player in this drama," said State Department spokesman James Rubin, saying the king would be available to both sides and would work to "encourage the leaders to move ahead, instead of focusing on long-standing complaints."

Reports that both Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and President Ezer Weizman have also been asked to come to Wye Plantation are unconfirmed, although it is conceivable - especially if there is a signing ceremony at the White House today or tomorrow. Clinton spoke briefly to Mubarak yesterday afternoon.

"We are clearly into a phase of very hard bargaining," said Rubin. "Much of the underbrush has been cleared away... [this] is part of the end game that is getting more and more serious."

He added, however, that "some tough decisions" still have to be made.

Officials said whether a deal is reached depends greatly on the outcome of the meetings among Clinton and the Palestinians and Israelis, which were to take place throughout the day yesterday.

Clinton canceled a two-day fund-raising trip to California to continue his personal involvement in the talks. He has been holding a series of trilateral and bilateral intensive meetings with Netanyahu and Arafat, and is said to be extraordinarily well versed in the details.

Defense officials said that the Americans urged Defense Minister Yitzhak Mordechai to postpone his scheduled meeting with US Secretary of Defense William Cohen so he would not have to leave the negotiations at this crucial stage.

Mordechai was to have met with Cohen in the Pentagon yesterday. The meeting was expected to focus on the possibility of a renewed crisis with Iraq, as well as requests to maintain Israel's "qualitative edge."

But the meeting was set last week when it was expected that the summit in Wye Plantation would have been finished by yesterday. Sandy Berger, Clinton's national security adviser, urged Mordechai to delay the meeting with Cohen, saying that his presence at the talks is vital, defense sources said.

Mordechai then telephoned Cohen and the two agreed to meet after the summit concludes.

The two were to have met a month ago in Washington, but Mordechai asked at the time to postpone the meeting, since he was heavily involved in the defense budget debate and was also engaged in negotiations with US envoy Dennis Ross.

Speaking to reporters before Clinton departed for the talks, White House spokesman Joe Lockhart said that while "there there is serious work that's going on, there are significant gaps between the parties."

Clinton, he said, "is determined and focused on helping the parties make the tough choices they need to make to move the peace process forward."

The US is still aiming to achieve a complete agreement on the outstanding issues and does not believe that the parties are at the point where they have to settle for something less, Lockhart said.

Lockhart said the US had asked Hussein to join the negotiations, because "we believe he can play a constructive role in the process there. As you know, the king enjoys enormous respect in the region and has played an important role in the peace process."

But Lockhart would not speculate on whether Hussein will play a pivotal role in brokering a deal, saying: "I wouldn't try to read any conclusion into his arrival and his participation."

Ha'aretz Daily News Wednesday, October 21, 1998 

U.S. suggesting new conference to precede May statehood deadline

By Nitzan Horowitz and David Makovsky, Ha'aretz Correspondents and Reuters

Key Statement: "....The Americans wielded their "heaviest gun" yesterday when it appeared the peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians took a positive turn: King Hussein of Jordan...."

The Americans wielded their "heaviest gun" yesterday when it appeared the peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians took a positive turn: King Hussein of Jordan.

After six days of a near-total media blackout, State Department spokesman James Rubin had something positive to tell reporters. "We have asked King Hussein to come to Wye," Rubin declared dramatically, adding that the Americans believe the king will help clarify the importance of taking hard decisions for the sake of peace to the Israelis and Palestinians alike. "We are past the atmospherics and down to hard bargaining," Rubin said. 

(See related story, Page 2.)

U.S. President Bill Clinton and U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright discussed the Wye talks with Hussein several times over the phone in the last few days. "We asked him to come because he's a man with a lot of integrity," Rubin said, noting the enormous respect and admiration Hussein has won in the Middle East.

Hussein is undergoing a series of six chemotherapy treatments for lymphatic cancer at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. Jordanian sources say the king is responding well to treatment. The king left the hospital on Monday, arriving at Wye around noon by helicopter.

Israeli sources said yesterday that there has been important progress on two important issues, but at least four key matters remain unsolved. They cautioned against the Palestinian optimism that the deal is on the brink of conclusion.

One important area of progress is in the realm of security, where sources say there is convergence on areas of principle, although some drafting remains to be done. Israel is now apparently prepared to accept a Palestinian counter-terrorism "work plan" put forward by CIA director George Tenet a few weeks ago.

Foreign Minister Ariel Sharon explored possible compromises with Palestinian officials Mahmoud Abbas and Ahmed Qureia on establishing safe passage between the West Bank and Gaza, and the establishment of a Palestinian seaport, and there are signs that an accord has been reached on the Dahaniya Airport.

On the issue of a unilateral Palestinian declaration of statehood on May 4, the U.S. is trying to defuse a potential explosion by agreeing to discuss final status issues at a later "event," on the eve of the May 4th deadline, to replace it.

But disagreements still remain on several issues, including the third pullback, a "time-out" on expansion of Jewish settlements, the scope of a Palestinian prisoner release, and the convening of the Palestinian National Council to ratify deletions in the 1964 Palestinian Charter.

Nonetheless, sources from all three sides concurred that after five days of deadlock, the mood yesterday turned upbeat. There are even hopes that an agreement might be finalized today or tomorrow. Major TV networks have already slated time for this afternoon (Washington time) in expectations that a signing ceremony will be announced.

Clinton joined the talks yesterday at 1 P.M. after cancelling a fundraising trip to California. In private conversation, White House sources expressed concern about the presidential involvement, saying it could raise expectations despite the remaining difficulties.

Officials from both sides said a more businesslike approach had returned after belligerent exchanges on Monday following the Hamas attack on a bus station in Be'er Sheva that injured some 66 people.

"We're into a phase of very hard bargaining. Part of the underbrush has been cleared away," said State Department spokesman Rubin. "It's part of the end game that is getting more and more serious. Some obstacles have been overcome but significant gaps remain."

One of the key issues at the talks is a package of measures by which Palestinian authorities will prevent attacks against Israelis. A Palestinian delegate said the Israelis showed "some understanding" for a security plan the Palestinians have submitted. "But they have to sit down further," he added.

An Israeli official said that "the issues are not closed. There are still issues that are unacceptable to us. [Clinton] heard our demands." Israel also demands the Palestinians dismantle the infrastructure of the Hamas, which has claimed responsibility for the grenade attack. 

Arafat argues that the Hamas infrastructure includes educational and charitable institutes and that the movement also operates in Israel and Jordan. 

Israel has offered a "partial agreement" that would leave out of a current agreement those remaining issues still unresolved, but the Palestinians are insisting on a full agreement. Ironically, it was Netanyahu who first raised the full agreement approach during the meetings last month in Washington that set the stage for Wye.

Back home, Labor Chair Ehud Barak called on Netanyahu and his team at Wye to do their utmost to bring home a full agreement for a second withdrawal. "Only signing a full agreement, implementing it, immediately entering into discussions on the permanent arrangement and separating Israel and the Palestinians can bring peace and personal security to the citizens of Israel," Barak said.

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CHN Late News Update 10-21-98
7:00 AM PDT
The Mid East March to Peace

CHN "Late News Update" 10-21-98 - 7:00 AM PDT

President Clinton continued his talks with the both parties until the early hours of Wednesday morning, but there is no final agreement yet. Before he comes back today he will consult with Madeline Albright to determine if his presence could close a deal. 

King Hussein spent the night in his Washington residence, and will only return to the Summit if needed. He was very instrumental on Tuesday in persuading both sides to face the tough issues of security, and move the issue forward. 

President Clinton talked to Egypt's Murbarak on the phone for 10 minuets Tuesday night which seemed to fuel speculation that a deal was forthcoming, and that he requested his presence at the official signing ceremony. It now doesn't seem to have been the reason for their conversation.

>From all reports during the night, an agreement still seems to be at hand, and a Thursday signing ceremony is being prepared. But with nothing in stone yet, we will just have to wait and keep "watching".

Jesus is Lord....

Luke 12:37

Wednesday October 21 7:54 AM EDT 

Mideast Talks Enter Seventh Day, Caution Over Deal

By Steve Holland

Key Statement: "....President Clinton was at the secluded retreat of Wye Plantation on Maryland's Eastern Shore until the early hours of Wednesday in an effort to get Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat to clinch an agreement...."

WYE MILLS, Md. (Reuters) - Palestinian and Israeli leaders resume intense negotiations for the seventh consecutive day Wednesday in a bid to reach a peace agreement, but U.S. officials cautioned against too much optimism for a deal.

President Clinton was at the secluded retreat of Wye Plantation on Maryland's Eastern Shore until the early hours of Wednesday in an effort to get Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat to clinch an agreement.

Clinton, who has dedicated five days so far to the talks, received some help Tuesday from Jordan's King Hussein, who left his sickbed to help try to break 19 months of stalemate in the Middle East peace process.

U.S. officials said there had been some progress but there was still some way to go. ``We wouldn't still be at this if we didn't believe that both sides were serious about reaching an agreement,'' said White House spokesman Joe Lockhart.

``That said, I'm not in a position to predict that the two sides will reach an agreement,'' said Lockhart, speaking after Clinton's 3 a.m. EDT return to the White House.

Lockhart said it was unclear whether Clinton would return to the Maryland retreat later Wednesday. ``At some point the president will check in with the secretary of state (Madeleine Albright) and make a decision about our participation,'' he said.

State Department spokesman James Rubin also said while some obstacles had been overcome, Israeli and Palestinian leaders still had not made the hard decisions needed to clinch a deal.

``It's certainly the most intensive phase yet,'' Rubin said, although he noted there had been no major movement Tuesday. Asked whether ``the really tough decisions'' had been taken, he said: ``We're not there yet.''

An Israeli official said the two sides had reached general agreements in principle on a number of issues but nothing had been nailed down in detail across the board.

``We'll have come out of here with something because there's no way this can end with a bust -- that will be a political fiasco like no one can remember,'' the official said.

``Whether it's going to be an airplane built with chewing gum and a prayer remains to be seen,'' he said.

Clinton thrashed out the issues with Netanyahu and top Israeli officials for three hours. U.S. officials at the meeting -- including CIA Director George Tenet -- presented the Israelis with detailed proposals aimed at bolstering Palestinian security efforts and asked them to respond by the morning, Israeli officials said.

``Indeed, there has been agreement on several issues but not on all of them,'' Netanyahu spokesman David Bar-Illan told Israeli Army Radio after the meeting.

Clinton also spent 45 minutes in talks with Arafat and spoke on the telephone for about 10 minutes with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. Washington is worried that a deal seen as unfair to the Palestinians will anger Arab states.

The Israeli official said the U.S. president had delved into the issues with the type of minute detail normally handled by second and third echelon officials.

Some U.S. officials said they expected the talks to run into Wednesday and if all went well, a signing ceremony might take place Thursday at the White House. But they cautioned this was only a very tentative plan.

The arrival of King Hussein, who played a pivotal role in securing a 1997 pact on a pullout of Israeli forces from Hebron, added momentum to the talks.

He met separately with Arafat and Netanyahu, reportedly nudging them toward agreement on key issues such as security and a third Israeli troop withdrawal from the West Bank.

Sources close to the talks said the king made some progress on security and Israel's demand that the 700-member Palestine National Council (PNC) be convened to change a Palestinian charter calling for Israel's destruction.

Hussein, who has had cancer treatment in Minnesota, left the summit for his residence near Washington late Tuesday. U.S. officials said there were ``no current plans'' for him to return to Wye Plantation, 70 miles (110 km) from Washington.

One key issue is a package of Palestinian security measures to prevent attacks on Israelis by Islamic militants.

An Israeli official said the sides were far from nailing down a detailed list and a timeline of measures Arafat would take parallel to an Israeli pullback from 13 percent of the West Bank phased over 12 weeks.

Measures Israel demands include arrests of Palestinian Islamist militants, confiscation of weapons held by militant groups and reducing the number of men and guns held by Palestinian police to limits set out in earlier interim deals.

A deal would also include the transfer of other West Bank lands now under Arafat's partial rule to his full control.

King Hussein proposed that the Palestinian charter calling for Israel's destruction be changed by the smaller 300-member Palestine Central Council, sources said.

An Israeli official said this could be a stopgap measure but warned that no deal could be signed without a commitment the PNC alter the charter at some stage.

Members of Israel's Terror Victims Association met with Sharon Tuesday and said Netanyahu had apparently agreed to accept a U.S. compromise under which suspected militants would be arrested and held by the Palestinians, with the CIA supervising to ensure that they were not released.

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CHN "Late Breaking News" 10-21-98
The Mid East March to Peace

CHN "Late Breaking News" 10-21-98

The "on-again/off-again" Middle East peace talks are on again...

Earlier in the day Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued an ultimatum saying his delegation would depart at 10 p.m. EDT if there was no substantial progress.

But progress has been made and now, ``The crisis is over. The talks will continue all night,'' one Palestinian negotiator said.

President Clinton did not attend todays session, but is waiting in the wings if Madeline calls for his help.

As usual, security issues have been the problem, but Bibi now feels the agreement that has been reached is acceptable and it's on to Thursday for the hoped for Summit agreement.

We'll keep "watching".....

Jesus is Lord...

Luke 12:37

Reuters Wednesday October 21 10:01 PM EDT 

Mideast Talks To Continue - Palestinian Negotiators

WYE MILLS, Md. (Reuters) - Middle East peace talks will continue after Israeli, Palestinian and U.S. negotiators resolved differences on touchy security issues, averting a threatened Israeli walkout, Palestinian negotiators said late Wednesday.

``The crisis is over. The talks will continue all night,'' one Palestinian negotiator said.

The office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued an ultimatum earlier Wednesday, saying his delegation would depart at 10 p.m. EDT if there was no substantial progress.

But Israeli Defense Minister Yitzhak Mordechai and Palestinian security chief Mohammed Dahlan and CIA Director George Tenet met for three hours on Palestinian security assurances late Wednesday and reached an agreement acceptable to the Israelis, sources close to the talks said.

Israeli officials confirmed their delegation would stay until Thursday, citing apparent progress in the talks. ``We are staying here for the meantime, through the night,'' one Israeli official said. Earlier they had insisted that they needed a more detailed plan to beef up Palestinian security before agreeing to withdraw from more of the West Bank, but Palestinian negotiators had said they were not prepared to go beyond the agreement concluded Tuesday. 

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CHN "Late Breaking News" 10-22-98
5:00 AM PDT
The Mid East March to Peace

CHN "Late Breaking News" 10-22-98 5:00 AM PDT

It's now Thursday morning and both sides have worked through the night. President Clinton will be departing the White House shortly for the Wye to begin his final prodding of the two leaders.

Concluding work on the draft text of the accord -- a document numbering less than 20 pages is being drawn up at this time, and once again a signing ceremony is anticipated for Thursday afternoon provided the two leaders sign off on the language of the agreement.

Madeline Albright worked feverishly Wednesday night and into this morning, meeting twice with Netanyahu and once with Arafat, while talking to Clinton three times on the telephone during the course of the evening. 

King Hussein did not return to the Wye in person on Wednesday, but he still remains deeply involved in negotiations having spoken several times by telephone to Albright, Bibi, and Yasser.........

Will the accord be struck and a signing ceremony held today, that is still an open question according to James Rubin, spokesman for Albright. He said, "``Clearly, the handing over of the text is another phase in the process. That's significant in its own right but whether it leads to an agreement is an open question''.

All we can do is keep "watching" to see what God has in store.

Jesus is Lord....

Luke 12:37

Reuters Thursday October 22 2:30 AM EDT 

Final Draft Of Mideast Accord May Come Thursday

By Carol Giacomo

WYE MILLS, Md. (Reuters) - Middle East negotiators hoped to produce the final draft of a peace agreement on the eighth day of a rollercoaster summit Thursday after defusing a threatened Israeli walkout and bargaining through the night.

President Clinton was expected to fly to the summit's rural Maryland site again early Thursday to meet with Israeli and Palestinian leaders and prod them toward an interim agreement aimed at paving the way for final status talks.

Interviewed from the summit, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's spokesman Aviv Bushinsky told Israel Radio: ``This morning we are able to tell you President Clinton will arrive and meet the prime minister and... should there truly be something to talk about, we will be happy to stay here as long as it's required to reach an agreement.''

White House spokesman Joe Lockhart said a deal was still possible despite Wednesday's tough talk by both sides -- and Clinton was ready to go back Thursday to the secluded Maryland retreat where the talks are being held.

``We wouldn't be still working at this if we didn't think there was a chance to reach an agreement on the interim issues and to move to final status (issues),'' he said.

Despite averting the collapse of the talks Wednesday and signs that gaps between the two sides were narrowing, U.S. officials refrained from overly optimistic predictions.

``There is still plenty of work to do,'' State Department spokesman James Rubin said. ``This is one of those situations in which one doesn't have any optimism until it's over and it isn't over.''

But he said negotiators were expected to conclude work on ''something resembling the final text'' by the end of the night.

One Israeli official, noting that the threat of a walkout by Netanyahu had given the talks a new sense of urgency, said he believed Thursday would be ``the decisive day''.

Clinton kicked off the Middle East summit with Netanyahu and Palestinian President Yasser Arafat at the White House exactly one week ago.

If the all-night discussions go well, he could preside over a White House signing ceremony with both leaders Thursday afternoon, before the parties scatter to face their own respective and pressing domestic challenges.

Clinton has an impeachment inquiry in Congress to look forward to; Netanyahu faces a no confidence vote in parliament Monday; and Arafat returns home after another bombing by the Islamic militant group Hamas that Israel wants him to control.

Rubin said U.S. officials had tried to steer clear of Wednesday's ``atmospherics'' to focus on the serious issues at hand in the negotiations.

Concluding work on the draft text of the accord -- a document numbering less than 20 pages -- was a step in the right direction, he said, but Netanyahu and Arafat still needed to sign off on the language of the agreement.

``Clearly, the handing over of the text is another phase in the process. That's significant in its own right but whether it leads to an agreement is an open question,'' Rubin said.

Netanyahu gave the week-long peace talks a jolt with his threat to fly back to Israel Wednesday evening if substantial progress was not made, going so far as to send the delegation's bags to Andrews Air Force Base.

He changed his mind after a meeting late Wednesday that included Israeli Defense Minister Yitzhak Mordechai, Palestinian security chief Mohammed Dahlan and CIA Director George Tenet, sources close to the talks said.

During that meeting, the Palestinians reiterated the commitments they had made and put down on paper during negotiations Tuesday, but they also agreed to give the Israelis a more detailed security plan within 30 days.

``We promised that within a month we will give them a copy of our security plan,'' one Palestinian negotiator said, noting that the offer had initially been made Wednesday morning.

Israeli allegations of Palestinian negligence on security have been a sore point throughout the summit. The Palestinians say they are doing their best to stop attacks on Israelis but cannot guarantee 100 percent success.

The summit has centered on a proposal that Israel withdraw from more of the West Bank in exchange for Palestinian security guarantees. A number of disputes left over from earlier stages of the peace process are also on the agenda.

Remaining issues dividing the parties include Israel's demand that the 700-member Palestine National Congress revoke its charter calling for the destruction of Israel; that Palestinians extradite suspected militants, collect weapons and reduce the size of their police force.

Secretary of State Madeleine Albright continued to shuttle between the parties Wednesday and into Thursday, meeting twice with Netanyahu and once with Arafat, while talking to Clinton three times on the telephone during the course of the evening.

Albright also spoke several times with Jordan's King Hussein, who telephoned both Netanyahu and Arafat.

Clinton, who has invested nearly 60 hours of time to participate personally in the talks, huddled with his top advisers behind closed doors in the Oval Office late Wednesday, trying keep the peace initiative alive.

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CHN "Late Breaking News" 10-22-98
7:00 AM PDT
The Mid East March to Peace

CHN more "Late Breaking News" 10-22-98 - 7:00 AM PDT

The President has gone back to the Summit......

``The hardest decisions, now, at last, are on the table. Israel, the Palestinians, the region and the world have very much at stake today. I hope the parties will seize this opportunity, and keep the process moving forward, Clinton said.

It does look very hopeful.......

We'll keep "watching".

Jesus is Lord

Rueters Thursday October 22 9:28 AM EDT 

Clinton Returns To Middle East Summit

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Clinton Thursday flew back to the 8-day-old Middle East summit, saying the Israelis and Palestinians were finally confronting the tough decisions needed for a deal.

``The hardest decisions, now, at last, are on the table. Israel, the Palestinians, the region and the world have very much at stake today,'' he told reporters before boarding a helicopter to fly to Wye Plantation, Md., where the talks are taking place.

``I hope the parties will seize this opportunity,'' and keep the process moving forward, Clinton said.

Israeli and Palestinian negotiators narrowly averted the collapse of the U.S.-mediated talks Wednesday night after the Israelis had threatened to walk out.

Clinton, who has spent nearly 60 hours at the talks, had met with top advisers in the Oval Office late Wednesday, trying keep the peace initiative alive.

White House spokesman Joe Lockhart said before Clinton left: ``There's progress to be made. The president is going back out there to continue pushing hard. I think we're at a decisive moment to make tough decisions. We're hopeful that the parties can now make them.''

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CHN "Late Breaking News" 10-22-98
12 NOON PDT
The Mid East March to Peace

CHN more "Late Breaking News" 10-22-98 - 12:00 Noon PDT

Today's the day...!!!!!!! And the King is on his way to the Wye.....!!!!!!

Clinton arrived and after a short greeting all parties got right down to business.

The tough issues are now on the table and Clinton wants it resolved today....!!! King Hussein is arriving shortly to put his political weight behind the push for a deal. 

We should be hearing very soon that a signing ceremony is forth coming......

Stay tuned......!!!!!!!!!

Jesus is Lord....

Rueters Thursday October 22 12:51 PM EDT 

Clinton Pressures Mideast Leaders To Reach Deal

By Carol Giacomo

Key Statement: "....Diplomatic sources said King Hussein of Jordan, who also joined the talks Tuesday, was also arriving shortly after midday (1600 GMT) to put his political weight behind the push for a deal. The king has been staying in the Washington area...."

WYE MILLS, Md. (Reuters) - President Clinton met Israeli and Palestinian leaders at their eight-day-old summit Thursday and made clear he wanted the key decisions on a Middle East peace agreement made by the end of the day.

White House spokesman Joe Lockhart said Clinton met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Yasser Arafat immediately after flying in by helicopter from Washington for his sixth personal intervention in the rollercoaster talks.

``We believe the difficult issues are now on the table,'' Lockhart said. ``And the time is now for the parties to make the tough decisions. The president wants the parties to make the important decisions today.''

Clinton met Arafat and Netanyahu for about 50 minutes in the rural Maryland conference center's main dining hall in front of a gas fireplace. Each side was accompanied by three top aides.

At the same time the delegations were working on the text of a possible agreement in case Arafat and Netanyahu are able to reach an accord.

Lockhart said of the talks: ``The atmosphere was cordial and businesslike. There was just a very few moments of greetings before they all sat down and got to work.''

Diplomatic sources said King Hussein of Jordan, who also joined the talks Tuesday, was also arriving shortly after midday (1600 GMT) to put his political weight behind the push for a deal. The king has been staying in the Washington area.

Before he left the White House, Clinton told reporters: ''The hardest decisions now, at last, are on the table. Israel, the Palestinians, the region and the world have very much at stake today.''

Israeli and Palestinian negotiators narrowly averted the collapse of the U.S.-mediated talks Wednesday night after the Israelis had threatened to walk out, citing inadequate Palestinian assurances on halting attacks by militants.

Sources from all sides said the security issue now appeared largely settled.

Experts from both sides went over the draft of an overall agreement submitted by the United States overnight and the three-way meeting, at which all leaders would be accompanied by their top aides, was seen as crucial.

The summit, taking place at a secluded estate amid farmland 70 miles (110 km) east of Washington, began last Thursday to try to end 19 months of stalemate and yield an interim agreement paving the way for a final Middle East peace settlement.

U.S. officials said despite progress, the process was fraught with uncertainty and the enterprise could still collapse, or be delayed through the weekend.

But if the discussions go well, Clinton could preside over a White House ceremony with both leaders later Thursday, before the parties scatter to face their own pressing domestic challenges.

Clinton has an impeachment inquiry in Congress to look forward to; Netanyahu faces a no confidence vote in parliament Monday; and Arafat returns home after another bombing by the Islamic militant group Hamas that Israel wants him to control.

Netanyahu gave the week-long peace talks a jolt with his threat to fly back to Israel Wednesday evening if substantial progress was not made. He went as far as to send the delegation's bags to Andrews Air Force Base.

He changed his mind after a meeting late Wednesday that included Israeli Defense Minister Yitzhak Mordechai, Palestinian security chief Mohammed Dahlan and CIA Director George Tenet, sources close to the talks said.

During that meeting, the Palestinians reiterated the commitments they had made and put down on paper during negotiations Tuesday, but they also agreed to give the Israelis a more detailed security plan within 30 days.

``We promised that within a month we will give them a copy of our security plan,'' one Palestinian negotiator said, noting that the offer had initially been made Wednesday morning.

Israeli allegations of Palestinian negligence on security have been a sore point throughout the summit. The Palestinians say they are doing their best to stop attacks on Israelis but cannot guarantee 100 percent success.

The summit has centered on a proposal that Israel withdraw from more of the West Bank in exchange for Palestinian security guarantees. A number of disputes left over from earlier stages of the peace process are also on the agenda.

Remaining issues dividing the parties Thursday included Israel's demand that the 700-member Palestine National Congress revoke its charter calling for the destruction of Israel, and that Palestinians extradite suspected militants, collect weapons and reduce the size of their police force.

There were also outstanding divisions on stopping ''unilateral acts,'' which include further Israeli settlements in the West Bank, and any declaration of a Palestinian state.

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CHN "Late Breaking News" 10-22-98
4:30 PM PDT
The Mid East March to Peace

CHN more "Late Breaking News" 10-22-98 - 4:30 PM PDT

``We are very close to a breakthrough. The only remaining issue is the third phase of further redeployment. We could close a deal tonight''.

These are the words of Palestinian negotiator Khaled Salam, Palestinian President Yasser Arafat's economic adviser.

All hands are on deck, and the final count down has begun........ If it happens tonight, then the signing ceremony will take place on Friday at the White House......

We're "watching"........

Jesus is Lord.......

Rueters Thursday October 22 6:14 PM EDT 

Israelis, Palestinians Say Close To A Deal At Summit

Key Statement: "....Palestinian negotiator Khaled Salam, Palestinian President Yasser Arafat's economic adviser, said: ``We could close a deal tonight''...."

WYE MILLS, Md (Reuters) - Israeli and Palestinian officials said Thursday they were close to a deal in their marathon Middle East summit, but U.S. officials urged caution until an agreement was actually reached.

``The impression we have now is that it is possible to reach an agreement, apparently soon, but it appears it still needs more work,'' a senior Israeli source said following intervention by President Clinton in the talks.

Palestinian negotiator Khaled Salam, Palestinian President Yasser Arafat's economic adviser, said: ``We could close a deal tonight''

He added: ``We are very close to a breakthrough. The only remaining issue is the third phase of further redeployment.'' He was referring to disputes over the timing and extent of a third withdrawal of Israeli forces from the West Bank.

State Department spokesman James Rubin said that after a day of earnest negotiation involving Clinton, Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu there was ``the flavor of a legislative session drawing to a close.''

But he added: ``It doesn't mean they will draw to a close. there is definitely no deal yet.'' The two sides are haggling over a land-for-security deal to open the way for ``final status'' talks on an ultimate Middle East peace settlement.

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CHN "Late Breaking News" 10-22-98
9:45PM PDT
The Mid East March to Peace

CHN more "Late Breaking News" 10-22-98 - 9:45 PM PDT

It's getting closer....but still no cigar..!!

Negotiations are continuing into Friday morning with optimism being heard from both sides.

Reuters reports that, "Jordan's King Hussein, a key player in the Middle East, was briefly brought into the talks late in the evening. The king, taking a break from cancer treatment in Minnesota, had also attended the talks Tuesday.

Lockhart said the king did not engage in the talks but gave a 10-minute speech to the negotiators in which he ``urged a strong push in the interest of peace.'' He added: ``All of the participants recognize his unique role.''

After Hussein left, the talks resumed.

We'll see what tomorrow brings.....as we keep "watching"...!!!

Jesus is Lord

Luke 12:37

Rueters Friday October 23 12:39 AM EDT 

Deal Close At Mideast Summit, But Gaps Remain

By Daniel Sternoff

WYE MILLS, Md. (Reuters) - Israeli and Palestinian officials said Thursday they were close to a deal in their marathon U.S.-brokered Middle East summit, but U.S. officials urged strong caution until an agreement was reached.

President Clinton, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Yasser Arafat engaged in a hectic day of talks which stretched into the night at the secluded Wye Plantation conference center in Maryland.

Members of both sides said there were agreements in some key areas, in particular the security arrangements Israelis are demanding to stop attacks by militants, but there were still gaps in the overall package.

One key last minute obstacle was a formula for meeting the Israeli demand for a formal abrogation of the articles in the Palestinian charter which call for the destruction of Israel.

``It's still very much up in the air as to which way this will go,'' State Department spokesman James Rubin said. ``Even with the best of intentions these problems are so profound that they may not be able to be resolved with this work,'' he said.

Earlier in the day delegates from both sides sounded an upbeat note. ``The impression we have now is that it is possible to reach an agreement, apparently soon,'' an Israeli said. ``We could close a deal tonight.'' said Khaled Salam, a Palestinian.

But as midnight (0400 GMT) approached after a day of hectic bargaining, the negotiators were trying to bridge the gaps and reach a land-for-security deal, opening the way to talks on an ultimate Middle East peace settlement.

Jordan's King Hussein, a key player in the Middle East, was briefly brought into the talks late in the evening. The king, taking a break from cancer treatment in Minnesota, had also attended the talks Tuesday.

Lockhart said the king did not engage in the talks but gave a 10-minute speech to the negotiators in which he ``urged a strong push in the interest of peace.'' He added: ``All of the participants recognize his unique role.''

After Hussein left, the talks resumed.

The nature of the talks was reflected in a flurry of claims and denials on the issue of changing the Palestinian charter to eliminate references to Israel's destruction.

Officials from both sides said they had resolved the issue, but then gave differing accounts of the formula to reporters.

Lockhart hurried to the media center to tell reporters the issue had not in fact been resolved. ``There was no agreement on that issue,'' he said.

Rubin said: ``Some substantial progress has been made on this in the last hour but details are still being worked on.''

The mood had swung back toward hope after the summit teetered on the verge of collapse Wednesday when Netanyahu threatened to walk out over what he termed inadequate Palestinian assurances on security.

On Thursday night, U.S., Palestinian and Israeli leaders sat surrounded by their aides at separate tables in a big dining hall, with officials shuttling back and forth between the groups pursuing agreements, Rubin said.

Palestinian and Israeli sources said there was agreement over how to handle a third withdrawal of Israeli forces from the West Bank, saying the details would be discussed in a committee which would finish its work in four months.

Clinton had made clear when he flew to Wye Plantation, 70 miles (110 km) east of Washington in the morning that he wanted the matters resolved by the end of the day.

All sides said they had effectively settled the issue of security -- involving Palestinian commitments to clamp down on militant attacks on Israelis -- essential if Israel is to go ahead with an agreed 13 percent pull-back in the West Bank.

``Substantial progress, major progress was made on security in the last couple of days which gives us a greater chance to move on the other important issues,'' Rubin said.

Apart from land, security and the charter, the agenda also includes disputes left over from previous rounds of the peace process, such as the fate of the some 3,000 Palestinian prisoners, an airport and a sea port for Gaza and safe passage for Palestinians traveling between Gaza and the West Bank.

The two sides were still apart on so-called unilateral acts, including Israeli opposition to the declaration of a Palestinian state and Palestinian objection to further Israeli settlements.

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CHN "Late Breaking News" 10-23-98
5:30 AM PDT
The Mid East March to Peace

CHN more "Late Breaking News" 10-23-98 - 5:30 AM PDT

"Houston, we have lift off..!!!!!!!! "

"An agreement has been reached between the two parties. The President (Bill Clinton) will announce that agreement upon his return to the White House this morning. He expects all parties to join the President at the White House later today,'' White House spokesman Joe Lockhart said.

"There is a signing ceremony and we have an agreement,'' a senior Israeli official said in a brief statement.

"....The Palestinians said the deal came after eight hours of face-to-face talks between the two Middle East leaders with support from Clinton, who remained at the summit all night...."

"....Talks on ``final status'' issues -- refugees, borders, the status of Jerusalem and the Palestinian self-rule area -- will begin soon, the negotiator added...."

FINALLY..........final status talks are next.......!!!!!!!

Because of the volatile nature of the final status talks, there is no telling how long they will last before the ultimate "final agreement" is reached. 

But remember, the Church will be Raptured before that "man of sin will be revealed", and what reveals him is that he is given the credit [crown] for finally bringing peace with/for the Jews and Jerusalem. 

Most of you know our position on the timing of the Rapture......... The Rapture happens 40 days after the feast of Firstfruits. And the reason is because Jesus Ascended on that day, and by doing so He cast that shadow into the future [that reflection into the future] so that the next time the "body of Christ" would Ascend [be Raptured] it would do so in like manner...[Col. 2:17] 

The Ascension of Jesus and the Rapture of the Church are indisputably linked..........

Also in like manner, Paul's "dead in Christ" that rise first in IThess. 4:16 also had a "reflection" in Jesus' day. Matt 27: 52,53....the "dead in Christ" arose after Jesus arose, which was 40 days prior to His [and their] Ascension. So, we will have a 40 day notice prior to the Rapture happening by virtue of the "sightings" of the dead in Christ arising.

And what all this means is that if this next "window of opportunity" for the Rapture is "the" window, then the "final status peace talks" will progress to a point that an agreement will be imminent. I don't have a calendar for 1999, but does anyone know the date of when the Jews will celebrate Firstfruits next year..? 

Because all we have to do is "watch" the progress as that time approaches.........

.......and you know we'll be "watching"...!!!!

Jesus is Lord

Luke 12:37

Rueters Friday October 23 7:48 AM EDT 

Israel, Palestinians Reach Peace Deal At Summit

By Wafa Amr

WYE MILLS, Md. (Reuters) - Israel and the Palestinians reached a deal on the next stage of Middle East peace Friday after all-night talks at a marathon summit in Maryland, Israeli, Palestinian and U.S. officials said.

``An agreement has been reached between the two parties. The President (Bill Clinton) will announce that agreement upon his return to the White House this morning. He expects all parties to join the President at the White House later today,'' White House spokesman Joe Lockhart said.

``There is a signing ceremony and we have an agreement,'' a senior Israeli official said in a brief statement.

Palestinian negotiators were to first to announce the agreement, which came on the ninth day of roller-coaster talks at Wye Plantation in rural Maryland between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Yasser Arafat.

The Palestinians said the deal came after eight hours of face-to-face talks between the two Middle East leaders with support from Clinton, who remained at the summit all night.

No official time was given for a signing ceremony, but Palestinian and Israeli officials said it was expected to be around 11:30 a.m. or noon (1530 or 1600 GMT).

Among the critical issues resolved in the early hours of Friday were the release of Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails, amending the Palestinian charter, and a package of security measures sought by Israel.

A Israeli negotiator said: ``Unprecedented achievement has been reached relating to fulfillment of Palestinian responsibilities. For the first time the Palestinians have agreed to a plan to fight terror and its infrastructure.''

Talks on ``final status'' issues -- refugees, borders, the status of Jerusalem and the Palestinian self-rule area -- will begin soon, the negotiator added.

He said that under the agreement Palestinians militants suspected of attacking Israelis would be arrested and kept in jail. ``The revolving door will be closed,'' he said. There was also agreement on the collection and removal of illegal weapons in the Palestinian autonomous areas.

Israel had argued that it needed the package of security measures if it was to go ahead with an agreed further withdrawal from 13 percent of the West Bank.

Clinton, who has invested more than 70 hours in the talks since they began at the Wye Plantation, 70 miles (110 km) east of Washington, on October 15, was said to have been instrumental in the early morning breakthrough, particularly on the issue of Palestinian prisoners.

Palestinian negotiators said the Israelis had agreed to release 750 out of about 3,000 Palestinian prisoners and to form a committee to discuss the release of thousands more.

``President Arafat spent eight hours arguing with Netanyahu until he secured the release of 750 Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails, 250 of which will be released every three months,'' a Palestinian negotiator said.

The fraught nature of the talks was reflected in a late flurry of claims and denials on the issue of changing the Palestinian charter to drop references to Israel's destruction -- an issue that vividly illustrates the mutual mistrust.

Officials from both sides said they had resolved the issue, but then gave differing accounts of the formula to reporters.

Jordan's King Hussein, a key player in the Middle East, was briefly brought into the talks late Thursday. The king, taking a break from cancer treatment in Minnesota, had also attended the talks Tuesday.

Lockhart said the king did not engage in the talks but gave a 10-minute speech to the negotiators in which he ``urged a strong push in the interest of peace.''

CNN October 23, 1998

Agreement reached in Mideast talks 

Midday signing ceremony expected

WYE MILLS, Maryland (CNN) -- After nearly nine grueling days of Mideast peace talks, "an agreement has been reached between the two parties," White House spokesman Joe Lockhart said early Friday. A White House ceremony was expected around midday. 

U.S. President Bill Clinton left the Wye River Conference Center Friday after 21 hours of talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat and their tops aides. 

Earlier Friday, Israeli sources and Palestinian officials involved in the talks told CNN that a verbal agreement had been reached on all outstanding issues. 

Sources said the document was nearly written. The final agreement was still "several hours away," a senior adviser to Netanyahu told CNN. 

Paving the way for final-status talks

Both Arafat and Netanyahu were meeting -- separately -- with their teams as the draft is being written. 

The breakthrough deal, currently called An Agreement for the Implementation of the Interim Agreement, is designed to bring closure to all interim issues and allow final-status talks to begin. 

The sensitive issues to be worked out in final talks include the status of Jerusalem and the borders for a possible Palestinian state. Those talks are scheduled to end on May 4, 1999, when the Oslo accords expire. 

Interim agreement details

The agreement being drafted will include a concrete security plan designed to curb violence in the region -- violence from both Palestinian extremists and Jewish extremists. 

Other issues in the deal include: 

• A 13 percent Israeli redeployment in the West Bank, to take place over 90 days; 

• An Israeli commitment for a third-phase redeployment of Israeli troops from the West Bank; both sides need to agree on the size and scope of the redeployment; 

• The revocation of anti-Israeli clauses in the Palestinian National Charter; 

• The opening of a Palestinian airport in Gaza; 

• Safe passage for Palestinians from Gaza to the West Bank; 

• An industrial zone in Gaza; 

• An "in-principle" agreement for a seaport in Gaza; 

• The release of 750 Palestinian prisoners, to be completed in three phases; and 

• The formation of a committee to study releasing other Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails. 

The document also states that unilateral actions -- such as the building of settlements, housing demolitions and a possible declaration of a Palestinian state by Arafat -- should not occur. 

U.S. officials say Clinton invested an enormous amount of personal time trying to bring the two sides to closure on the deal. 

The idea, according to the Clinton administration, was to settle these outstanding issues in order to make it possible to speed up final-status talks.

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CHN "Late Breaking News" 10-23-98
9:00 AM PDT
The Mid East March to Peace

CHN more "Late Breaking News" 10-23-98 - 9:00 AM PDT

Now What.......?????????

The Israeli's want Jonathan Pollard released as part of the deal. 

Israeli sources said Netanyahu thought he had an understanding that Clinton would pardon Pollard when Israel signs the agreement with the Palestinians. ``They (the Americans) informed him (Netanyahu) an hour ago that Pollard won't be released,'' a senior Israeli source added.

Now it's up to Clinton........

We'll watch..........

Jesus is Lord

Rueters Friday October 23 10:36 AM EDT 

Israel, Palestinians Agree, Snag On Signing

By Daniel Sternoff

WYE MILLS, Md. (Reuters) - Israel and the Palestinians broke 19 months of deadlock in peace talks Friday, but an 11th-hour snag over an Israeli spy hit plans for them to sign the agreement on the White House lawn.

After nine days of tortuous negotiations and a marathon session into the early hours of Friday, President Clinton clinched the deal between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

``An agreement has been reached between the two parties. The President will announce that agreement upon his return to the White House this morning. He expects all parties to join the President at the White House later today,'' said White House spokesman Joe Lockhart.

But a dispute over spy Jonathan Pollard suddenly held up arrangements. ``Obviously, we have hit a snag in the agreement, and we're working hard to work through the issues to put the agreement back together,'' Lockhart said.

Lockhart declined to explain what the snag was. But Israeli officials said there was a dispute over whether and when Clinton will order Pollard freed from a U.S. prison.

Israeli sources said Netanyahu thought he had an understanding that Clinton would pardon Pollard when Israel signs the agreement with the Palestinians. ``They (the Americans) informed him (Netanyahu) an hour ago that Pollard won't be released,'' a senior Israeli source added.

U.S. officials said nothing about Pollard. ``I can't comment,'' said a spokesman for the National Security Council.

Clinton and Netanyahu stayed longer than expected at Wye Plantation, the summit venue in rural Maryland. Clinton had planned to leave at 7.30 a.m. (1130 GMT) but was still at the conference site at 10 a.m. (1400 GMT).

Pollard and his former wife Anne were turned away from the Israeli embassy in Washington in 1985 as they were trying to escape from FBI agents. He was convicted of giving Israel classified information on Arab countries and jailed for life.

Israel in May finally admitted that Pollard was its agent but U.S. presidents have three times denied him clemency.

Arafat adviser Ahmed Tibi said Pollard should have nothing to do with the peace agreement. ``The agreement has to be signed without Israeli excuses... We did not know anything about Pollard, it does not concern us,'' he said.

Another Palestinian negotiator immediately cast doubt on the Israeli government's commitment to carry out the peace agreement, the most important in the Middle East peace process since at least the Hebron agreement in January 1997.

``The problem is that Palestinians are not confident that this Israeli government will implement the accords. The talks we had with them prove our point,'' said Yasser Abed Rabbo, the Palestinian Information Minister.

Among the critical issues resolved in the early hours of Friday were the release of Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails, amending the Palestinian charter, and a package of security measures sought by Israel.

A Israeli negotiator said: ``Unprecedented achievement has been reached relating to fulfillment of Palestinian responsibilities. For the first time the Palestinians have agreed to a plan to fight terror and its infrastructure.''

Talks on ``final status'' issues -- refugees, borders, the status of Jerusalem and the Palestinian self-rule area -- will begin soon, the negotiator added.

He said that under the agreement Palestinians militants suspected of attacking Israelis would be arrested and kept in jail. ``The revolving door will be closed,'' he said. There was also agreement on the collection and removal of illegal weapons in the Palestinian autonomous areas.

Israel had argued that it needed the package of security measures if it was to go ahead with an agreed further withdrawal from 13 percent of the West Bank.

Clinton, who has invested more than 70 hours in the talks since they began at the Wye, 70 miles (110 km) east of Washington, on October 15, was said to have been instrumental in the early morning breakthrough, particularly on the issue of Palestinian prisoners.

Palestinian negotiators said the Israelis had agreed to release 750 out of about 3,000 Palestinian prisoners and to form a committee to discuss the release of thousands more.

``President Arafat spent eight hours arguing with Netanyahu until he secured the release of 750 Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails, 250 of which will be released every three months,'' a Palestinian negotiator said.

The fraught nature of the talks was reflected in a late flurry of claims and denials on the issue of changing the Palestinian charter to drop references to Israel's destruction -- an issue that vividly illustrates the mutual mistrust.

Officials from both sides said they had resolved the issue, but then gave differing accounts of the formula to reporters.

Jordan's King Hussein, a key player in the Middle East, was briefly brought into the talks late Thursday. The king, taking a break from cancer treatment in Minnesota, had also attended the talks Tuesday.

Lockhart said the king did not engage in the talks but gave a 10-minute speech to the negotiators in which he ``urged a strong push in the interest of peace.''

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CHN "Late Breaking News" 10-23-98
11:00 AM PDT
The Mid East March to Peace

CHN more "Late Breaking News" 10-23-98 - 11:00 AM PDT

At this time the "snag" is still caught, but Ariel Sharon has the comforting answer:

"....Israeli Foreign Minister Ariel Sharon told Reuters he was prepared to delay but not wreck the peace agreement for the sake of Israelis in prison abroad...."

"It (the release) is an important element in the overall agreement. I do not support canceling the agreement but I am ready to stop for a moment to see if we can bring our prisoners home after we have paid a heavy price,'' he said.

So, the ball is in the US court, and Clinton needs to win this "game".............

See you at the White House for the signing ceremony.....!!!!!! where we will be "watching"..!!!

Jesus is Lord

Reuters Friday October 23 1:17 PM EDT 

Spy Snag Holds Up Signing Middle East Deal

WYE MILLS, Md. (Reuters) - A snag over freeing an Israeli spy from jail in the United States Friday held up plans to sign an Israeli-Palestinian agreement which broke 19 months of deadlock in Middle East peace talks.

President Clinton and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stayed behind at a secluded conference center in rural Maryland to sort out the last-minute hitch, which cast a shadow over Clinton's successful mediation.

Netanyahu thought he had an understanding that Clinton would pardon convicted spy Jonathan Pollard as soon as Israel signs the deal with the Palestinians. He felt ``cheated'' when Clinton said no, an Israeli delegation source said.

``Obviously, we have hit a snag in the agreement and we're working hard to work through the issues to put the agreement back together,'' said White House spokesman Joe Lockhart.

``Reports that the president has agreed in principle to the release of Pollard were inaccurate,'' a U.S. official added.

Netanyahu spokesman Aviv Bushinsky told Israel Radio from the summit site that signing the deal could be delayed but could still take place Friday.

``Our approach is not to make Jonathan Pollard part of the agreement we reached with the Palestinians,'' he added.

Israeli Foreign Minister Ariel Sharon told Reuters he was prepared to delay but not wreck the peace agreement for the sake of Israelis in prison abroad.

``It (the release) is an important element in the overall agreement. I do not support canceling the agreement but I am ready to stop for a moment to see if we can bring our prisoners home after we have paid a heavy price,'' he said.

Israeli delegation sources, explaining Sharon's reference to prisoners, said Israel also wanted the United States to press Egypt to free Azam Azam, an Israeli sentenced by Egypt to 15 years in jail in August 1997 for spying for Israel.

The dispute could in theory unravel the substance of the Israeli-Palestinian agreement because Israeli negotiators have linked the release of Pollard with Israel's release of an extra 300 Palestinian prisoners, Israeli sources said.

Pollard and his former wife Anne were turned away from the Israeli embassy in Washington in 1985 as they were trying to escape from FBI agents. He was convicted of giving Israel classified information on Arab countries and jailed for life.

Israel in May finally admitted that Pollard was its agent but U.S. presidents have three times denied him clemency.

Arafat adviser Ahmed Tibi said Pollard should have nothing to do with the peace agreement. ``The agreement has to be signed without Israeli excuses... We did not know anything about Pollard. It does not concern us,'' he said.

Lockhart had earlier announced the final breakthrough between Netanyahu and Palestinian President Yasser Arafat after nine days of tortuous negotiations and a marathon session into the early hours of Friday.

``An agreement has been reached between the two parties. The president will announce that agreement upon his return to the White House this morning. He expects all parties to join the president at the White House later today,'' he said.

Another Palestinian negotiator immediately cast doubt on the Israeli government's commitment to carry out the deal, the most important in the Middle East peace process since at least the Hebron agreement in January 1997.

``The problem is that Palestinians are not confident that this Israeli government will implement the accords. The talks we had with them prove our point,'' said Yasser Abed Rabbo, the Palestinian information minister.

Among the critical issues resolved in the early hours of Friday were the release of Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails, amending the Palestinian charter and a package of security measures sought by Israel.

A Israeli negotiator said: ``Unprecedented achievement has been reached relating to fulfillment of Palestinian responsibilities. For the first time the Palestinians have agreed to a plan to fight terror and its infrastructure.''

Talks on ``final status'' issues -- refugees, borders, the status of Jerusalem and the Palestinian self-rule area -- will begin soon, the negotiator added.

He said that under the agreement Palestinians militants suspected of attacking Israelis would be arrested and kept in jail. ``The revolving door will be closed,'' he said. There was also agreement on the collection and removal of illegal weapons in the Palestinian autonomous areas.

Israel had argued that it needed the package of security measures if it was to go ahead with an agreed further withdrawal from 13 percent of the West Bank.

Clinton, who has invested more than 70 hours in the talks since they began at the Wye, 70 miles (110 km) east of Washington, on Oct. 15, was said to have been instrumental in the early morning breakthrough, particularly on the issue of Palestinian prisoners.

Palestinian negotiators said the Israelis had agreed to release 750 out of about 3,000 Palestinian prisoners and to form a committee to discuss the release of thousands more.

``President Arafat spent eight hours arguing with Netanyahu until he secured the release of 750 Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails, 250 of which will be released every three months,'' a Palestinian negotiator said.

The fraught nature of the talks was reflected in a late flurry of claims and denials on the issue of changing the Palestinian charter to drop references to Israel's destruction -- an issue that vividly illustrates the mutual mistrust.

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CHN "Late Breaking News" 10-23-98
4:30 PM PDT
The Mid East March to Peace


HALLELUJAH.......they signed it..!!!!!!!!!!

 


CHN "Late Breaking News" 10-23-98 - 4:30 PM PDT

It took nine days and lots of haggling, but it's done..!!!

Now, once the two sides have ratified this agreement, talks on the ``final status'' issues -- refugees, borders, the status of Jerusalem and the Palestinian self-rule area... will begin.

All the parties spoke at the signing ceremony, but it was King Hussein who gave the most emotional of the speeches, and was thanked profusely by President Clinton for his "wisdom" in time of need..

I know that there are many who struggle with the understanding that we at CHN have of the King fulfilling the prophesied role of the Peacemaker/Antichrist, but having witnessed todays events, and the role he played today and at the Summit, we must tell you that our convictions are as strong as our faith.

He is the man...!!! and his best show is yet to come.....in final status negotiations..!!!

Now you know we'll be "watching"........

Jesus is Lord

Luke 12:37 

Reuters Friday October 23 7:21 PM EDT 

Mideast Deal Signed, Opens Way To Final Peace Talks

By Laurence McQuillan

Key Statement: "....The exhausting haggling, which ended with a session of more than 24 hours, left the leaders drooping during a ceremony that included an emotional speech by King Hussein of Jordan, who took a rest from cancer treatment to help forge the deal...."

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - After a marathon U.S.-led summit, Israeli and Palestinian leaders Friday signed a long-delayed security-for-land deal that put them back on course for a final Middle East peace settlement.

The agreement, hammered out in nine days of talks at the secluded Wye Plantation in Maryland, was signed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Palestinian President Yasser Arafat and President Clinton at a White House ceremony.

The exhausting haggling, which ended with a session of more than 24 hours, left the leaders drooping during a ceremony that included an emotional speech by King Hussein of Jordan, who took a rest from cancer treatment to help forge the deal.

The agreement foresees a phased Israeli withdrawal from 13 percent of the West Bank in exchange for Palestinian security measures against violent extremists. It represented a breakthrough after a 19-months stalemate in the peace process.

It opened the way to ``final status'' talks, due to be completed by May 4, which involve the even more contentious issues of fixing borders and the status of Jerusalem and of the Palestinian self-rule area.

Under the accord, hundreds of Palestinian prisoners will be released from Israeli jails and Palestinian legislative groups will hold a meeting, attended by Clinton, to eliminate clauses in the Palestinian charter calling for Israel's destruction.

``Today is a day when Israel and our entire region are more secure. This has required sacrifice from both sides,'' Netanyahu said at the ceremony.

But he was sober about the prospects for further success. ''We will soon embark on negotiations for a permanent peace settlement... And I guarantee you it will not be easy and it will not be simple...,'' he said.

Clinton, no stranger to long-running negotiations, said the Maryland summit, most of which he attended, had been long and difficult. ``Now both sides must build on that... and begin a difficult journey towards a permanent settlement,'' he said.

He said both leaders were aware of the danger of a violent response from those opposed to the deal. ``As peace gains momentum the forces of hate will again lash out. They know this, the leaders, and they are prepared to face it,'' he said.

He said his administration would discuss with Congress extra financial aid for Israel to help it ensure its security and for the Palestinians to help them develop economically.

The signing ceremony was delayed for several hours by a last-minute attempt by Netanyahu to secure the release, as part of the deal, of American Jonathan Pollard, jailed in 1987 for spying for Israel.

Clinton rebuffed the appeal, which drew statements of outrage from several members of Congress, and said only that he would review Pollard's case. Freedom for Pollard would have helped Netanyahu sell the peace deal to Israeli hardliners.

The hastily-arranged signing ceremony, in which a weary Clinton spoke four times and nearly nodded off during a 27-minute Arafat speech, ran close to the start of the Jewish Sabbath, which would have prompted the Israelis to leave.

One Palestinian negotiator immediately cast doubt on the Israeli government's commitment to carry out the deal, the most important in the Middle East peace process since at least the Hebron agreement in January 1997.

``The problem is that Palestinians are not confident that this Israeli government will implement the accords. The talks we had with them prove our point,'' said Yasser Abed Rabbo, the Palestinian information minister.

Among the critical issues resolved in the early hours of Friday were the release of Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails, a package of security measures sought by Israel and amending the Palestinian charter.

Clinton said he would personally oversee the charter changing process, which Palestinians argue has already been done once and which is one of the most emotional of issues.

``Chairman Arafat will invite members of the Palestinian National Council and other important political entities to reaffirm his prior commitment and their support for the peace process. I have agreed to address that meeting several weeks hence,'' he said.

An Israeli negotiator said: ``Unprecedented achievement has been reached relating to fulfillment of Palestinian responsibilities. For the first time the Palestinians have agreed to a plan to fight terror and its infrastructure.''

Talks on the ``final status'' issues -- refugees, borders, the status of Jerusalem and the Palestinian self-rule area -- will begin once the two sides have ratified this agreement, U.S. officials said.

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