Arafat Frozen Out? Yes and No

Can Middle East peace be brokered without Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat? For the short term, at least, Israel is trying. Israeli Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer tells TIME that his country is bypassing Arafat as part of a strategy to strike direct cease-fire deals with local Palestinian power brokers. Last month in the divided city of Hebron, West Bank security chief Jibril Rajoub agreed to keep order in the Abu Sneineh neighborhood in return for Israel's pulling out troops and tanks. Last week--just days before Israelis killed a leading Hamas military leader suspected of terrorism--Ben-Eliezer oversaw similar deals in the Palestinian cities...

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