The United States, meanwhile, was reported to be putting together a large aid package of about $1.25 billion for the West Bank and Gaza Strip to underwrite an agreement on autonomy--with an immediate $24 million from Washington.
Abdel-Wahad Darawshe, leader of the Arab Democratic Party in the Knesset, the Israeli Parliament, said that Clinton Administration officials told him that the assistance program, financed by the United States, the European Community, Saudi Arabia and other oil-rich Arab states, would be outlined this week at multilateral negotiations on economic development in the region.
In the negotiations with Syria, Israel also appeared to be softening its stand. Police Minister Moshe Shahal called at the Cabinet meeting for recognition of Syrian sovereignty over the Golan Heights, a region that Israel annexed more than a decade ago, as part of a peace agreement with Damascus.
"If there will be a need to choose between the Golan Heights, and true and stable peace, peace should be chosen," Shahal was quoted as telling the rest of the Cabinet.