January 7, 1997 in Nation/World

Two Sides Get Ready For Hebron Pullback

Compiled From Wire Services

As their leaders tried to clinch a Hebron deal with U.S. help on Monday, Palestinian security forces cleaned the city and Israeli troops pored over maps to prepare for their long-overdue pullback.

Plainclothes Palestinian police removed vendors’ stalls from Hebron’s central square and narrow downtown alleys to make room for celebrations after Israel’s departure. Nearby, workers whitewashed utility poles.

In the biblical town of Bethlehem, a 15-minute drive away, U.S. envoy Dennis Ross met with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat to try to resolve the last sticking point - a timetable for Israel’s withdrawal from West Bank rural areas.

“There is still a chance that this agreement will be signed soon. I can’t say when,” Ross said after an hour-long meeting with Arafat.

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