PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat on Friday rejected an Israeli proposal that, as a step toward expanding Palestinian self-rule, he start running the West Bank town of Janin while Israeli troops remain there.
However, a senior Palestinian negotiator said the Palestine Liberation Organization was ready to compromise and accept a gradual Israeli troop withdrawal from West Bank towns, signaling an end to the months-long impasse in the Israel-PLO autonomy talks.
Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin delayed the West Bank withdrawal because he believed that Arafat did not do enough to foil attacks by Islamic extremists.
Rabin made the "Janin first" offer in a meeting Thursday with Arafat. Rabin told Arafat that he could administer Janin while the two sides stepped up talks on an overall troop pullout and Palestinian general elections.