Arafat and Netanyahu Reach a Deal

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Benjamin Netanyahu decided not to press his luck. Afer causing an uproar earlier today with a last-second threat to bail out of peace talks unless President Clinton released convicted spy Jonathan Pollard, the Israeli prime minister backed down. Instead, the issue of Pollard, a civilian U.S. Navy intelligence analyst convicted of spying for Israel, has been tabled until that nicest of diplomatic elements -- an unspecified later date -- occurs. The Israelis and Palestinians signed a pact Friday covering the Wye talks' main issue: Israeli withdrawal from 13.1 percent of the West Bank in exchange for greater security guarantees by the Palestinians.

That sounds fine, but as a Clinton foreign policy triumph, the Wye summit has been underwhelming. "It required extraordinary effort and energy to produce a very modest agreement," says TIME State Department correspondent Dean Fischer. "But that modest agreement is nonetheless essential to get the process back on track so that the Israelis and Palestinians can address the really sticky issues." And whatever others Netanyahu decides to throw into the mix.