Further Peace Moves May Depend on US


In addition to the Hebron redeployment, Israelis and Palestinians also agreed to an American-backed "Note for the Record" that will express each side's commitment to carry out other parts of the accords.

Israel will promise to release some Palestinian prisoners and continue talks on the opening of an airport and seaport in Gaza, as well as a safe passage route between the West Bank and Gaza, the two Palestinian-controlled areas.

Palestinians have promised to beef up their war on terrorism, to consider extraditing suspects who committed attacks in Israel, and to fully change the Palestinian Liberation Organization's covenant calling for Israel's destruction.

In the key compromise that led to the long-awaited deal, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu agreed to withdraw troops from West Bank rural areas in three intervals, one within six weeks of the new deal, a second within eight months, and the last by August 1998.

But a dispute over how much land those redeployments will entail is unsettled and promises to be a key source of future contention.

While Palestinians say that they should control about 85 percent of the West Bank at the end of the interim agreement, Israel says it is its prerogative to decide how much land to turn over.

Mr. Netanyahu wants to concede control of much less land than that. Leftist Knesset member Amnon Rubinstein now says that the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin never planned to turn over more than 50 percent of the area to the Palestinians.

American officials say Israel's interpretation is correct. "It's clear in the agreement that Israel specifies the military locations, so the amount Israel hands over is Israel's decision," Martin Indyk, the US ambassador to Israel, said on Israel Radio.

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