<i> Associated Press</i>

Permanent peace in the Middle East--or for that matter, even a lasting cease-fire--has been an elusive quest. Some recent examples:

IRAN-IRAQ WAR: Baghdad responded to Iran’s initial acceptance of U.N. cease-fire resolutions in 1988 by bombing industrial sites inside Iran. Moreover, Iran accused Iraq of using chemical weapons and causing 2,700 casualties in two days during the cease-fire.

The fighting came to a formal end Aug. 8, 1988. But the exchange of prisoners--70,000 Iraqi and 45,000 Iranian POWs--wasn’t resolved until last August, when Saddam Hussein made surprise territorial concessions in hopes of winning Iran’s support for its actions in Kuwait.

LEBANON: Cease-fires between rival factions have been mere interludes, sometimes lasting just hours, before the next round of killing began. This has been going on since the mid-1970s.

SIX-DAY WAR: Israel and Egypt showed initial signs of talking peace after the war in June, 1967, but an Arab summit meeting, with Soviet support, formed a policy of non-recognition, no talks and no peace with Israel.


YOM KIPPUR WAR: Israel signed disengagement agreements with Egypt and Syria after the October, 1973, war, but it was two years before an interim accord on the Sinai Peninsula was signed and five years before Israel and Egypt made peace at Camp David. Egypt didn’t regain control of the Sinai until 1982.