Peres Meets with Moderate West Bank Palestinians

Prime Minister Shimon Peres met Sunday in Jerusalem with 25 moderate Palestinians from the West Bank. He urged them to agree to the appointment of Arab mayors in all major cities, with expanded powers. Israeli sources said the group did not include front-ranking figures, and that it comprised mainly pro-Jordanian elements.

The meeting was seen as significant, nevertheless, because it comes in the wake of Peres’ summit with King Hassan of Morocco last month, when the Israeli Premier promised the King to meet forthwith with “authentic representatives of the Palestinian people” with a view to discussing with them the prospects of a peace negotiation.

It was not clear Sunday whether the day’s meeting with the 25 pro-Jordanians would be the first of a number of such encounters.

Israeli sources cited Peres as telling the group that Israel was ready to sit with any West Bank or Gaza representative and hear any view. Israel, he reportedly said, was not opposed to views, but only to acts of terror and violence.

The Premier was quoted as saying that Israel sought a solution that could accommodate Palestinian aspirations, a phrase which he used in his talks with King Hassan and which does not appear in the Camp David texts.

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