Middle East: Picking Up the Pace

After months of drift, the peace process shows signs of renewed activity

Without warning, the fickle thermostat that governs Middle East diplomacy seemed to click from freeze to thaw last week. Conciliatory messages about the prospects for peace floated back and forth between the leaders of Israel and Jordan. Top-ranking officials of Syria, Jordan and Egypt met in various locales to focus their efforts on uncharacteristic unity rather than on their sometimes murderous differences. Even members of Yasser Arafat's Tunis-based Palestine Liberation Organization seemed to be caught up in the wave of regional fence mending as they tried to woo the support of members of rival P.L.O. factions in the Syrian capital, Damascus.

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