Arab leaders met in Beirut today to endorse a Saudi initiative for peace with Israel. But the summit has beenseverely damaged by the absence of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Jordan’sKing Abdullah II. Moamer Kadhafi of Libya and Saddam Hussein of Iraq are also absent. Israel banned PresidentArafat from attending the conference on Tuesday. Hours later, the Palestinian leader announced that he would notattend the summit because Israel had threatened to bar him from returning to Palestine. The leaders of Egypt andJordan soon announced they would not attend either.
Meanwhile, two military observers from an international force stationed at Hebron in the West Bank were shot andkilled while driving down a Jewish settlers’ road, apparently by Palestinian gunmen. The two victims were the firstmembers of this unarmed force to be killed.
- Robert Fisk, reporter for the Independent, based in Beirut.