Chief Palestinian negotiator Nabil Shaath shared Sarid's optimism that they will meet the April 13 target date.
"We will do our best. This is an important date," Shaath said. "We can do it if there are no major crimes against the Palestinians, and if there is the political will to do it on the part of the Israelis."
But it was just such major crimes that Kiryat Arba's Katzover predicted could well take place as he testified Sunday before the Shamgar Commission, the judicial body headed by Israeli Chief Supreme Court Justice Meir Shamgar.
The commission has already cast doubt on the official version of the massacre in its mission to determine how Goldstein fired three full magazine clips at Palestinian worshipers at the mosque.
Calling such massacres "acts of desperation," Katzover, who publicly denounced Goldstein and the massacre, told the panel that Israeli concessions to the PLO, such as last week's agreement to permit an armed international force to monitor Palestinian security in Hebron, sent signals to the city's more than 100,000 Arabs that "Jewish blood has been abandoned."
Times staff writer Kim Murphy contributed to this report from Cairo.