Middle East peace


SECRETARY of States James Baker's meeting . . . with Palestinians in Jerusalem, including leading nationalist Faisal El-Husseini, is a positive step. But despite the momentum for peace created by Saddam Hussein's defeat, Baker's odds on breaking a deadlock over the troubled Israel-occupied territories, torn by a revolt for self-determination and a Palestine homeland, are not high.

The PLO's behavior during the gulf war has not helped -- but one way around the stalemate could be for elected representatives from the territories to talk to Israel as part of a Jordanian delegation. . . .

An international conference bringing all Middle East parties to the negotiating table under the U.N. Security Council auspices is still the most desirable course. But Baker's idea of a regional conference could conceivably bridge the gap.

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