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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Syria Talks Break Off After Bomb Attacks


JERUSALEM -- Israel has ordered home its delegation to peace talks with Syria in the United States, the prime minister's office said.

It announced the decision after another suicide bombing in Israel, this time at a Tel Aviv shopping mall.

"We are sending the delegation home following the latest attack," said an official in Prime Minister Shimon Peres's office.

The Israeli-Syrian talks had been suspended until Wednesday following a bus bombing in Jerusalem on Sunday that killed 18 people.

Syria, stopping short of outright condemnation of that attack, said Monday that Israel could never achieve security or stability if it did not work to achieve what Damascus called real and just peace with the Arabs.

In Washington, President Bill Clinton deplored new suicide bombings in Israel Monday as "senseless acts of violence" and called a meeting of his top security advisers to find ways to stop them.

Secretary of State Warren Christopher cut short a Caribbean tour to return to Washington for the emergency meeting.

Angry U.S. rhetoric and veiled warnings, however, did not stop the slaughter on Israel's streets, as an explosion set off Monday by a suicide bomber sitting in a car went off outside a downtown Tel Aviv shopping center. Israel radio said at least 10 people were killed and 30 wounded.

In a speech at Taylor, Michigan, the president said that it's ironic the Jewish assassin of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and the Moslem bombers terrorizing Israel have a common aim: to end the peace process.

"They live to continue the conflict,'' Clinton said and asked Americans to "send a message to Israel: If you fight for peace, we will stand with you.''

Presidential spokeswoman Ginny Tarzano said the president "is greatly concerned by this report and deplores the senseless acts of violence on innocent people."

On Sunday, Clinton attributed a deadly bomb attack in Jerusalem to enemies of peace, and said that incident would not be allowed to defeat the peace process.

However, Israel immediately suspended talks with Syria due to resume Monday in eastern Maryland after a weekend recess. The talks were based on the U.S.-backed land-for-peace formula. On this track, it would involve Israel giving up all or most of the Golan Heights security enclave in exchange for a peace treaty with Syria.

With Israel reeling under the costliest terrorist barrage in its nearly 50 years as a nation, concerns over security are causing much of the public to reconsider risking territorial compromises in exchange for Arab recognition.

Clinton, who had vowed to minimize Israel's risks while encouraging Israel to take risks for peace, said Sunday that "this is a troubling moment, but I am determined to see that it does not defeat the peace process." ()