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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Talks Set to Resume, Israel Says

TEL AVIV -- On the day Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization were supposed to sign an expanded autonomy agreement, Israel instead Tuesday buried five victims of a bus bombing that shook support for the fragile peace.


But even before the victims were buried, Israeli leaders reaffirmed that talks with the Palestinians would resume, perhaps this week and most likely outside Israel.


Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin said Israeli and Palestinian officials would meet Tuesday night after the funerals to decide where and when to resume the talks, which were suspended following the Monday morning bombing.


At the Kiryat Shaul cemetery in Tel Aviv, about 150 mourners buried Moshe Shkedi, 80, one of six people -- apparently including the suicide bomber -- killed in the explosion, which went off as the bus passed Israel's bustling diamond exchange in the Ramat Gan suburb of Tel Aviv.


Israel radio said 22 people remained hospitalized Tuesday, including one in critical condition and three with serious injuries.


Mourners also paused at the site of the explosion to light memorial candles as heavy morning traffic drove over broken glass.


The blast shattered a feeling of security Israelis had begun to regain after a lull of several months in such attacks.


"We have learned to bury our dead and go on until the next tragedy. And if the tragedy is shocking, the expectation for it is horrifying," commentator Sima Kadmon wrote in the newspaper Maariv.


"There is nothing more terrible than tragedies turning into certainties like the rain and heat. You are sure they will come. You just don't know on what day."


It was a sharp contrast with what Tuesday was hoped to be: the target date set by Israel and the Palestinians for signing an agreement on extending Palestinian self-rule in the West Bank, the next stage in their peace efforts. Gaps still remain on the extent of an Israeli withdrawal from parts of the West Bank and control of water.


While it was clear even before the bombing that they would miss the target date, Israel and the PLO leaders stressed that they would not let the attacks halt their peace efforts.


"We will continue the negotiations," Rabin said Monday. "The Palestinian enemies of peace will not prevent us from continuing the process of resolving once and for all the Palestinian-Israeli conflict."


Foreign Minister Shimon Peres said the talks would reconvene Wednesday somewhere in Europe. "It is impossible to continue talks here," he was quoted as saying in the Jerusalem Post.


But PLO leader Yasser Arafat said he wanted the talks to stay in the Middle East, perhaps in Cairo.


The Palestinians' top negotiator, Ahmad Qureia, stressed that the atmosphere in Israel after the bombing was not conducive to successful negotiations.


"The Palestinians will not resume the talks under psychological pressures and blackmailing," Qureia told the Palestinian news agency Wafa.


A majority of Israelis polled by Maariv after the bombing believed that the peace talks should not be continue.