Borderline Breakthrough

Israel and the P.L.O. make progress in Cairo, but a deal is unsealed

For 2 1/2 days last week, exhausted negotiators pored over maps and drafts of a proposed agreement in smoke-filled Cairo hotel rooms, until the morning of the third day, when Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres proclaimed that the two sides had "reached a meeting of the minds." Breakthrough!

Not quite. In a predawn meeting at the Cairo airport, Palestine Liberation Organization negotiator Mahmoud Abbas had briefed P.L.O. Chairman Yasser Arafat on the details. Arafat had then flown to Tunis to convene a meeting of the organization's executive committee. That night Arafat flew back to Cairo for a crucial meeting with Egyptian...

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