Efforts to revive PLO-Israel peace talks suspended after the 25 February Hebron massacre had still failed to produce results as MEED went to press. Disagreement centred on Israel’s refusal to give ground on Jewish settlements and protection of Palestinians in the occupied territories.
PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat and Jacques Neriah, an envoy of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, met in Cairo on 7 March. Arafat had further talks with Rabin by telephone two days later. However, little progress was reported. Plans for Neriah to travel to Tunis on 9 March to continue the unofficial contacts were cancelled.
Reports say Arafat presented Neriah with a list of demands including a call for the immediate deployment of an international presence in Hebron, Gaza and Jericho when the self-rule deal is finally signed.
On 9 March, the UN Security Council postponed voting on a resolution condemning the Hebron massacre. The US was reported to be trying to excise references to the status of Jerusalem as part of the occupied territories from the motion.
Since 25 February, almost 30 Palestinians have been killed in clashes in the occupied territories between Palestinians and Israelis. Hamas repeated a warning to all settlers to leave the occupied territories by 15 March or face reprisals.