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Thousands dead in India; quake toll rapidly rising

Israelis, Palestinians make final push before Israeli election

Davos protesters face tear gas


4:30pm ET, 4/16










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At least 1 dead as suicide bomber strikes at West Bank café

Fourth day of talks set to begin in Washington

In this story:

Palestinians, police clash in Jerusalem

Both sides say they're ready for a deal

Clinton offers 'framework idea'


MEHOLA, West Bank (CNN) -- A suicide bomber killed himself at a roadside cafe in a Jewish settlement in the northern tip of the West Bank on Friday, Israeli police said. Two soldiers at the cafe were seriously injured, and a third suffered minor injuries

Earlier, eyewitnesses said that the explosion had also killed an Israeli, but police did not confirm that report.

Mehola is about 70 kilometers (50 miles) northeast of Jerusalem, in the Jordan Valley.

The eyewitnesses said the bomber, who carried his explosive into the restaurant, was a Palestinian. But officials could not confirm who was responsible for the attack.

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Elsewhere, a Palestinian man working in the Jewish settlement of Netzarim in Gaza was shot and killed. The Palestinians said the man was shot by Israelis. Israelis said he was wounded by Palestinian gunfire and later died of his wounds.

At Beit-Hagai in the West Bank, Israeli authorities said a Jewish settler shot a Palestinian who was attempting to enter the settlement. He was in serious condition.

Friday's killings bring the death toll in 12 weeks of violence between Palestinians and Israelis to almost 370 -- 317 Palestinians, according to Palestinian officials, and 39 Israeli Jews and 13 Israeli Arabs, according to Israeli officials.

Meanwhile, in Washington, Palestinian and Israeli negotiators were ready to begin a fourth day of talks aimed at ending not only the current round of violence, which began on September 28, but decades of hostile relations between the Mideast neighbors.

Palestinians, police clash in Jerusalem

Scattered violence in Jerusalem also marred the last Friday of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan as Israeli security turned away Palestinians under the age of 45 and nonresidents of Jerusalem who came to worship at al-Aqsa mosque in the walled Old City.

An estimated 18,000 Muslims were allowed into Haram al-Sharif (Noble Sanctuary), the disputed holy site where al-Aqsa is located. Jews know the site as the Temple Mount, where their ancient Temple of Solomon once stood.

About 3,000 police, some on horseback, were deployed in the area, checking identity and watching the crowds.

Some of those denied access to the mosque compound scuffled with police or threw stones at them. Palestinians also scuffled with police in the West Bank town of Bethlehem, but no major injuries were reported in either location.

Palestinian sources -- which include officials from Palestine Red Crescent Society, hospitals and ambulance services -- reported three Palestinians died on Thursday, including one who died from wounds received in a gunfight on Thursday. The Israeli army denied its forces were involved in one shooting death at Karnie crossing in Gaza, but said it was still investigating.

An Israeli civilian was also killed in a drive-by shooting on the road between Givat Ze'ev and Beit Horon on Thursday, the army said.

Both sides say they're ready for a deal

At Washington's Bolling Air Force Base, hopes ran tentatively high for the negotiations, but all sides were reluctant to predict that an agreement might be at hand.

One senior Palestinian official acknowledged Thursday that proposals were on the table, "but the Palestinian leadership needs papers, written papers and doable plans and proposals ... (then) those proposals need to be implemented immediately."

"We're at a very, very sensitive point," Israeli Foreign Minister Shlomo Ben-Ami told Israel Army radio Thursday. "This is the first time there is the feeling that they (Palestinians) really want to get a deal. We want to see if that's possible."

The Palestinians' chief representative to Washington, Hasan Abdul Rahman, told CNN, "We've always wanted a deal. A deal depends on Israel."

Back in the Middle East, opponents of the talks from both sides called for an end to the negotiations.

An Israeli official said both delegations are scheduled to meet again with U.S. President Bill Clinton on Friday, which will be "a time for difficult decisions."

A senior administration official said such a meeting is "likely," but "nothing is locked in."

Though Secretary of State Madeleine Albright was expected to meet with the negotiators on Thursday to get a status report, State Department spokesman Philip Reeker said that her plans had changed and that she will likely meet with them on Friday.

Clinton offers 'framework idea'

One senior Israeli official described the mood at the talks as one of "cautious optimism," adding that negotiators were focused on the "nitty gritty."

The negotiators met with Clinton on Wednesday, and White House spokesman Jake Siewert said Clinton used the time to review "what's at stake, how important it was to reach an agreement, how important it is to proceed."

Another Israeli official who spoke to CNN said, "Clinton didn't present bridging proposals, but rather what he called parameters for solving all the most difficult issues."

The Israeli official added these parameters were similar to ideas offered during July's Camp David talks and did not "draw a line where a border is." Rather, the official said, it's a "framework idea."

These parameters cover the most sensitive issues of all including: borders of a Palestinian state, sovereignty over Jerusalem, return of refugees and Israeli settlements.

For instance, he said, "over 90 percent of the West Bank and Gaza is supposed to be handed over to the Palestinians ... and Palestinians would also have control over Arab neighborhoods in Jerusalem ... without drawing lines."

The peace talks are expected to run until Saturday, but officials said that with only a month remaining before Clinton leaves office, they could be extended.

CNN Jerusalem Bureau Chief Mike Hanna, State Department Correspondent Andrea Koppel and Producer Elise Labott contributed to this story.

Clinton, Mideast negotiators meet at White House
December 20, 2000
Israeli, Palestinian negotiators begin peace talks
December 19, 2000
Mideast leaders plan U.S. peace talks as violence goes on
December 17, 2000
Top officials meet amid talk of Mideast summit
December 16, 2000
U.S. officials make new push for Mideast peace talks
December 15, 2000
Israeli foreign minister, Arafat meet in Gaza
December 14, 2000
EU president to speak with Arafat, Barak
December 13, 2000
Arafat, U.S. mediator hold Mideast talks
December 12, 2000
Commission meets with Israeli, Palestinian leaders
December 11, 2000
Netanyahu challenges Barak for Israeli prime ministership
December 10, 2000
Israel's Barak to step down, seek new mandate
December 9, 2000

The Nobel Peace Prize 1994
Meretz Party (In Hebrew)
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United Nations
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The EU and the Middle East Peace Process
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Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs
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