In a sign of changing times, U.S. flags fluttered proudly from homes in this PLO-ruled town Friday instead of being burned by angry Palestinians in street protests.
The occasion was a visit by Vice President Gore, who met with PLO chief Yasser Arafat and pledged $65 million in fresh U.S. aid to the financially strapped Palestinian government.
Arafat promised Gore that he would crack down on Palestinian militants who have been trying to sabotage the Israel-PLO peace agreement with deadly bombings.
Gore assured Arafat that the United States would stick to its promise of $500 million in economic aid through 1998 and said that $150 million of the money would be disbursed by September.
As part of the aid, the United States will grant $25 million over three years to create jobs in Gaza. A first installment of $4 million will be spent to pave roads, and another $4 million will be used to fix refugee camp shacks, Gore said. The United States will also give $40 million to improve Gaza's waste-water system. Gore also announced a decision by President Clinton to permit the duty-free import of 4,600 products from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.