Yesterday, Palestinian officials announced they could not accept the terms of Clinton's latest peace proposal -- publicly delineated for the first time by the President this weekend in a speech to an American Jewish organization. With the President himself admitting that an agreement before he left office now seemed unlikely, he dispatched US envoy Dennis Ross to the region in a last effort to generate some kind of positive outcome, perhaps a memorandum of understanding that could serve as the basis for future negotiations under the Bush administration's guidance. But the Palestinians have balked at Clinton's proposal that they relinquish the "right of return" to Israel of nearly four million Palestinian refugees -- a right guaranteed them by UN resolution -- and complained that his divisions of the West Bank were unacceptable. Israelis are also unlikely to accept the dramatic concessions Clinton calls for concerning the fate of the Haram al-Sharif area or Temple Mount, which would be under Palestinian sovereignty in the President's plan. Meanwhile, fighting has continued in the West Bank with new casualties on both sides and the perhaps symbolic destruction, in the midst of a gunfire exchange, of a modest monument commemorating the 1994 peace accord.
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