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As Negotiators Return to Mideast, Hamas Offers Deal to Stem Violence

December 24, 1993
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Israeli and Palestinian negotiators parted ways after a marathon session in the French city of Versailles, agreeing to resume their talks on the self-rule accord next week in Cairo.

In the Gaza Strip, meanwhile, members of the Islamic fundamentalist Hamas movement on Thursday offered to stop attacking Israeli settlers if the government of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin disarmed the settlers and ordered the army to stop shooting Palestinians.

If Israel did not accept the offer within three days, Hamas said in a leaflet, the bloodshed would continue.

Hamas has claimed responsibility for the deaths of 13 of the 20 Israelis killed since Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization signed their accord on Sept. 13.

In Versailles, the negotiations lasted more than 11 hours with only three short breaks.

Environment Minister Yossi Sarid said Thursday upon his return to Israel that there had been an agreement from both sides not to divulge details.

Foreign Minister Shimon Peres, who led the Israeli delegation, said Thursday that the talks would go on as long as it took to reach agreement.

From his and Sarid’s terse comments, it was clear that no breakthrough had yet been achieved on the three issues that have so far eluded resolution: who win control the borders between the Gaza Strip and Egypt and between the West Bank town of Jericho and Jordan, the size of the Jericho district that will be administered by the Palestinians and the size of the-Israeli forces that will remain behind in Gaza and Jericho to protect settlers.

There were reports in Israel that the government was proposing that the Jericho district encompass 40 square miles, an increase from the previous proposal of 35 square miles.

The Palestinians had previously sought an area of 140 square miles, but earlier in the week there were reports that they were willing to accept 80 square miles.

In Israel, government officials offered no reaction to the Hamas ultimatum.

But defense sources were quoted as saying that the ultimatum showed that the fundamentalist forces in the territories were “feeling the heat.”

According to these sources, Hamas was feeling the effects of recent Israel Defense Force actions.

The Israeli army has largely ceased hunting for wanted members of the PLO and was instead focusing on the members of the Hamas and Islamic Jihad movements.

(Contributing to this report was JTA correspondent Lisa Glazer in Paris.)

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