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But with so much daily bloodshed, the conflict's victims are less interested in questioning American motives than in seeing the killing stop. Zinni, a retired four-star Marine general who once commanded U.S. troops in the Middle East, arrived in Jerusalem Thursday to get both sides to act on the so-called Tenet plan, named for CIA chief George Tenet, who negotiated it last June. The plan sets out steps meant to lead the two sides to a cease-fire. Diplomatic sources told TIME that Zinni is proposing to put CIA monitors in Palestinian Authority jails and offices on a full-time basis and provide both sides with technical surveillance devices to ensure compliance with the cease-fire requirements in the Tenet plan. A cease-fire would give war-weary Israelis and Palestinians some breathing space, but a lasting political settlement isn't in sight.
The U.S. hasn't yet thrown its weight behind the most ballyhooed recent peace initiative--Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah's offer of normalization of relations between Israel and the Arab states in exchange for Israeli withdrawal from all land seized in the 1967 war. Some version of the proposal will almost certainly be endorsed at next week's Arab summit in Beirut, but squabbling between Syria and the Saudis over the language of the plan could dilute it. While Abdullah says he is offering "full normalization"--meaning official trade, political and cultural relations between nations--Syrian officials want to change the language to "complete peace," a far less generous phrase that would remain unpalatable to Israel. Though Bush expressed tentative agreement with the Abdullah plan when it was unveiled last month, his Administration hasn't offered formal support for it. Said a senior White House aide: "I've never been sure if the Crown Prince intended this to go as far as it has."
Even so, Arab diplomats say the plan has already had an impact, simply by encouraging the U.S. to rejoin the search for peace. But not all the fighters are ready to lay down their guns. In Gaza a remote-controlled bomb packed with C-4 explosive blew up an Israeli Merkava tank, killing three soldiers. Also last week Israel's Shin Bet security service foiled three separate bombing plots set to coincide with Zinni's arrival. In one incident near the Jewish settlement of Rimonin, Israeli forces blew up a car carrying an alleged suicide bomber on his way to Jerusalem.