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The BBC's Bill Hayton
"This latest imitative has born little fruit"
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The BBC's Chris Morris in Jerusalem
"The situation remains volatile in the extreme."
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Informal adviser to Ehud Barak, Nimrod Novotnik
"The ability to bridge gaps - bilaterally - has been exhausted"
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Monday, 13 November, 2000, 05:43 GMT
Barak downbeat over Clinton talks
Ehud Barak outside the White House
Barak had little to say outside the White House
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak has held two hours of talks with President Clinton in Washington about the Middle East peace crisis.

It's like a war zone here

Israeli citizen in Gilo
Emerging from the meeting late on Sunday, Mr Barak said they had discussed ways of trying to stabilise the situation in the Middle East and implement last month's Sharm el-Sheikh peace deal with the Palestinians.

Back in Israel, Mr Barak left behind him renewed fighting between Israelis and Palestinians in which another Palestinian youth was reported to have been shot dead.

Mr Barak told journalists in Washington he had been ready at the Camp David summit last July to consider "far-reaching ideas" to promote peace, but he heard different signals from the Arab side.

Low expectations

He said that Israel expected the governments and peoples of the free world "to make their own judgement about whether a jihad or a negotiated agreement is the right way to solve conflict".

US and Israeli officials are said to have broken up into working groups for fuller discussions, following the main meeting.

Mr Barak had tried to lower expectations of what the meeting might produce well in advance of it.

"I am pessimistic abaout the chances of relaunching the political process with the Palestinians after my meeting with Clinton," he said on Friday.

Sunday's violence in the Palestinian territories coincides with the funerals for six Palestinians and one Israeli soldier killed on Saturday.

Mr Barak will almost certainly have been briefed by Mr Clinton about the US president's meeting with Mr Arafat on Thursday.

'Liberty and independence'

Mr Arafat repeated the Palestinian demand for a United Nations peace-keeping force in the Palestinian territories, a measure Mr Clinton has rejected because of Israeli opposition to the plan.

Barak: Not hopeful
"We got a very general description of the [Clinton-Arafat] meeting from the Americans and we were told in that description that the president attaches huge importance to discussing it face to face with the prime minister," Mr Barak's security adviser Danny Yatom told reporters en route to Washington.

Meanwhile, Mr Arafat spent Sunday maintaining pressure for support for the Palestinian cause at a meeting of the Islamic Conference Organisation in Qatar.

"It is an uprising for liberty and independence to shake off the clutches of occupation," Mr Arafat told the summit.

"The Palestinian people know the importance of the sacrifices they have to make to realise this objective."

Violence flares

As the Palestinian leader made his appeal, clashes which have flared daily between Palestinian demonstrators and Israeli troops resumed once more.

A teenage Palestinian boy was shot dead by Israeli troops at the Erez crossing point between Gaza and Israel, hospital officials said.

The officials said the boy took a live round to the chest. Eight people were wounded in the shooting.

The Israeli army is also reported to have used helicopter gunships and tanks in fighting near the Palestinian controlled town of Beit Jala and the Jewish settlement of Gilo, close to Jerusalem.

"It's like a war zone here," a resident of Gilo told Israel radio.

The Israeli army says it attacked Beit Jala in reply to automatic fire from the town.

A convoy carrying the United Nations Human Rights Commissioner, Mary Robinson, came under fire near the West Bank town of Hebron. No one was hurt.

More than 200 people, the vast majority of them Palestinian, have died in the violence which began on 28 September.

It started when Palestinians, frustrated with the direction of the peace process, rioted after Israeli hardliner Ariel Sharon visited the al-Aqsa mosque compound in East Jerusalem, a site which is also holy to Jews.

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See also:

12 Nov 00 | Middle East
Leah Rabin dies of cancer
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Violence spreads as Arafat seeks help
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01 Nov 00 | Middle East
Israel 'may be guilty of war crimes'
17 Oct 00 | Middle East
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09 Nov 00 | Middle East
Israel's tactical questions
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