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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Weizman Goes to Egypt, Promises Peace

COMBINED REPORTS


CAIRO, Egypt -- Israeli President Ezer Weizman said Monday that Israel intends to go forward with the peace process despite tensions over its failure to withdraw its troops from the largely Arab city of Hebron.


But Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and PLO President Yasser Arafat stuck to their positions on an Israeli troop pullback from Hebron -- despite efforts by a U.S. mediator to arrange a meeting between the two leaders in hopes of reaching a quick agreement.


"We understand that pressure exists of one kind or another" to make concessions, Netanyahu told reporters in parliament. "We stand firm before this pressure. ... We preserve our interests. And the first interest we are standing firm on is security."


Arafat, en route from the West Bank to Jordan, blamed lack of progress on what he said was Israeli intransigence. "Problems are still there and we have not overcome them," Arafat said.


Weizman said Israel was grappling with the issue of Hebron, the last West Bank city still under Israeli control, but he did not say when it would be handed over to the Palestinian authority.


"Better late than never," he told reporters.


"I am sure, as I said to President Mubarak, that the government of Israel ... will do honestly all its best to achieve peace with regard to the Palestinians," he said after meeting with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.


The redeployment was scheduled in March under peace agreements. The failure of Israeli forces to leave most of Hebron has deeply angered Palestinians and leaders of Arab countries, like Egypt, that have reached peace agreements with Israel.


Netanyahu wants certain changes to ensure the security of Hebron's 450 Jewish settlers, but the Palestinians accuse Israel of trying to renegotiate the agreement. ()