From the time the Menachem Begin government rejected the Ronald Reagan plan until December 1987—when the Palestinian intifada erupted in the West Bank and Gaza—a number of events created a political atmosphere that stimulated renewed diplomatic involvement in the region. In spring 1988 prevailing global and regional conditions prompted the United States to revive the Reagan plan, Secretary of State George Shultz calling for an international peace conference on the Middle East. On May 29-31, during talks with Reagan in Washington, King Hussein for the first time indicated his willingness to hold direct talks with Israel. He proposed a four-stage process by which the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) would recognize Israel's right to exist in return for US recognition of the Palestinians' right to self-determination. One of the main ideas behind international conferences is to provide an umbrella of international legitimacy to collective peace efforts. The idea of an international conference split Israel between Peres and Shamir and their followers.