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Clinton and Arafat to meet Tuesday to discuss framework for peace
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- U.S. President Bill Clinton and Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat will meet in Washington on Tuesday afternoon in an attempt to clarify details of Clinton's peace proposal.
"The chairman and the president said it might be useful to meet," White House National Security Council spokesman P.J. Crowley told CNN. The agreement to meet came in a 45-minute phone call placed by Clinton on Monday -- from Camp David, Maryland, where he is vacationing with his family -- to Arafat, said Crowley.
"We reached out to the chairman," Crowley said. The two talked about the status of the peace process and the violence that erupted Monday, with Clinton expressing concern over the ongoing bloodshed and the need for both sides to do everything possible to stop it.
Clinton discusses violence with Barak
Clinton also called Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak to discuss the most recent incidents of violence in the region and explain his meeting with Arafat, White House officials said Monday.
Crowley said the phone call lasted about 45 minutes, with the two mainly discussing the situation in the region.
"The president stressed the need to do everything possible to combat these acts of terrorism committed by those who oppose the peace process," Crowley said.
In the latest incident of violence, a series of bomb blasts went off Monday in a car in the Israeli coastal city of Netanya, injuring more than 20 people, one of them critically.
Four Palestinians died on Monday. Palestinian authorities said two Palestinian policemen were killed overnight in Tulkarem. Palestinians said a 22-year-old Palestinian man was killed near Hizme in what they said was a drive-by shooting.
And in Hebron, a 12-year-old Palestinian boy died of wounds he sustained last week when a gunbattle broke out between Israelis and Palestinians, Palestinian hospital officials said.
More than three months of bloody clashes have killed more than 375 people, the vast majority of them Palestinians.
As to whether there would be a meeting with the Israeli prime minister, Crowley said, "We are taking this step by step and will get a sense of where we are after the meeting on Tuesday."
Clinton looks for 'a common understanding'
Clinton also talked to Arafat about a meeting the president had last week with Palestinian and Israeli negotiators in Washington on how to move the peace process forward.
"We want to ensure there is a common understanding of the parameters that he put forward," Crowley said. "Given the importance of this, both agreed it might be useful to meet."
U.S. negotiators, including Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and National Security Adviser Samuel R. (Sandy) Berger, have been in touch with both sides since the meetings in Washington last month.
Asked whether this is an encouraging sign, Crowley said, "We are neither encouraged or discouraged."
Barak has indicated he would be willing to move forward if the Palestinian side accepted Clinton's proposal as a basis of moving ahead.
The details of Clinton's proposal never have been officially released. But reports have said that under the proposal, the Palestinians would get a state in 95 percent of the West Bank and all of Gaza as well as control over Haram al-Sharif -- known to Jews as Temple Mount -- a disputed holy site in traditionally Arab east Jerusalem.
In exchange, the Palestinians would drop their demand for a right of return for Palestinian refugees who fled or were driven out of Israel when it was founded in 1948.
Palestinians win Egyptian support
Arafat received support for his demands for clarification of the Clinton plan during a meeting in Cairo, Egypt, on Monday with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.
Egyptian Foreign Minister Amr Moussa said his country will not pressure the Palestinians to accept Clinton's peace proposal and that Egypt supports their request for more details.
"There should be clarifications and interpretations in order for the Palestinians to know their next step and also for the sake of clarity and to preserve the basics of the settlement," Moussa said in remarks following Mubarak's meeting with Arafat.
"Nobody can sign (any agreement) now because he does not know exactly what he is signing," Moussa said.
CNN Jerusalem Bureau Chief Mike Hanna and Correspondents Eileen O'Connor and Matthew Chance contributed to this report.
High-profile killings deepen doubts about Mideast peace process
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