- GAZA (Reuters) - The United
States was ready to create a $30 billion refugee compensation fund if Palestinian
President Yasser Arafat agreed to compromise on key issues at the Camp
David summit, a senior PLO official said on Thursday.
- Selim al-Zanoun, who heads the Palestine Liberation Organization's
parliament-in-exile and mini-parliament, said Arafat refused the offer
during last month's Camp David peace summit which was hosted by President
- A spokesman for the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv declined
- ``The Americans offered to give the Palestinians $30
billion for a compensation fund to tempt us to cede the rights of the refugees,''
Zanoun told a news conference in Gaza.
- He said the compensation would be divided between Palestinian
refugees who fled or were forced to flee their homes in 1948, when Israel
was created, and Jewish refugees who fled Arab countries after Israel was
- Zanoun said the other condition attached to the $30 billion
offer was that Arafat must agree to compromise over Jerusalem.
- ``The American pressure at Camp David took two forms
-- threats and the gestures made by some Zionists in the American administration,''
Zanoun said. ``President Arafat rejected the enticements and the threats.''
- A spokesman for the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv said the
United States would not comment on proposals tabled at the summit and added
that Clinton said after the summit collapsed that everything discussed
at the peace talks was null and void.
- Israel captured East Jerusalem from Jordan in the 1967
Middle East war and, in a move not recognized internationally, has long
regarded all of Jerusalem as its ``united and eternal capital.'' The Palestinians
want East Jerusalem as the capital of a future independent state.
- Some reports suggest Prime Minister Ehud Barak broke
away from that long-standing Israeli position by agreeing to give Palestinians
sovereignty over outlying parts of the city.
- Clinton indirectly blamed Arafat for the failure of the
summit, saying the Palestinian leader had shown less flexibility than Barak.
Some Palestinian officials have criticized Clinton over his comments.
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