Arafat, Netanyahu Meet In Washington

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WASHINGTON, D.C.: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat met for face-to-face talks Tuesday at the White House for the first time since riots last week in Jerusalem raised new doubts about the future of peace negotiations. President Clinton is hosting a two-day summit between the two leaders and Jordan's King Hussein. TIME's Lewis Simons reports that both sides are eager to reverse the violence that erupted after Israel opened a controversial tunnel in Arab East Jerusalem near Muslim holy sites. "Netanyahu and Arafat felt things escalated beyond what they anticipated it would," Simons says. "Clearly they were worried about the direction things were going which explains their quick response in agreeing to come here." Netanyahu and Arafat took a private lunch that White House spokesman Mike McCurry said went "a long way to re-establishing the notion of trust" that led Israel and the Palestinian Authority to signing the Oslo peace accords three years ago. But so far there has been no word of concrete movement on the issues by either side. "Netanyahu has painted himself into a corner, so he will really have to back down in order to be seen as making any concessions," Simons reports. "He says he wants to talk, but he hasn't offered anything specific." -->