BREATHLESS IN GAZA

THE PALESTINIANS DID ALL THEY COULD TO HELP PERES, INCLUDING KEEP QUIET. NOW WHAT?

It is Wednesday evening, the night of the Israeli elections, and the atmosphere in the Gaza City home of Nabil Shaath is quiet and tense. About a dozen people have gathered to watch the returns. Most are top aides to Yasser Arafat. Shaath, the Palestinian Authority's Minister of International Relations and Development, negotiated the complicated arrangements for the staged Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank and Gaza. As a member of the authority's six-member senior committee overseeing the crucial "final status" talks, he has just returned from Washington, where he and the Clinton Administration's top Middle East hands held yet another...

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