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SLUG: 2-293868 Israel / Palestinians









INTRO: The Palestinian parliament is to reconvene today (Tuesday) and some of the lawmakers are expected to demand that long-time Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat share power by appointing a prime minister. Ross Dunn reports from Jerusalem.

TEXT: Tuesday's session of the Palestinian parliament is expected to consider whether to approve a new cabinet that was selected by Mr. Arafat in June.

The legislators are also expected to consider establishing a new post of prime minister, an idea that is becoming popular among many Palestinians disillusioned by frequent charges of corruption and mismanagement against the Palestinian Authority.

Some lawmakers are expected to say they will support Mr. Arafat's cabinet only on the condition that he also appoints a prime minister.

Ahead of the session, Mr. Arafat advised the legislators should not turn the ballot into a vote of "no-confidence" in his government.

He said that such a move might give Israel the opportunity to create a rift in Palestinian society at a time when he is seeking to create a spirit of "national unity".

The meeting is taking place in the West Bank city of Ramallah, and opened Monday with an address by Mr. Arafat.

In his speech, the Palestinian leader joked that he was willing to give up his "executive powers," which was seen as a gesture mocking his critics.

Mr. Arafat is usually referred to as the "chairman" of the Palestinian Authority and is generally considered to have the final say in all matters of policy and decision-making.

The Israeli Cabinet broke off direct contacts with Mr. Arafat last December but meetings between Israelis and other Palestinian officials have continued.

Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres is scheduled to meet Tuesday with senior Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat, a close aide to Mr. Arafat.

The two are to discuss ways to ease the plight of Palestinian residents in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

The Palestinian Authority is demanding the lifting of military closures and curfews and the transfer of tax revenues, frozen by Israel since the start of the Palestinian uprising two years ago. (Signed)


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