Breakthrough : After 13 years of silence, the U.S. agrees to talk with the P.L.O.

After 13 years of silence, the U.S. agrees to talk with the P.L.O., angering Israel and profoundly altering the Middle East's diplomatic landscape

A few simple words. Israel. Renounce. 242. Such is the flimsy coin of diplomacy. Yasser Arafat's decision to utter these particular words has shaken the Middle East puzzle and launched the stalemated parties on a perilous and by no means certain course toward peace. After weeks of waffling, the chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization last week finally ended a crazily contorted semantic dance with what passed, for him, as plain speaking. Yes, the P.L.O. recognized Israel's right to exist in peace and security. Yes, the P.L.O. accepted United Nations Resolutions 242 and 338 as the basis for negotiations to end...

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