|October 2000 - Return to Complete Index MiddleEast.Org 10/11/00|
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US ANXIOUS ABOUT ANTI-US ATTACKS AND MAJOR WAR
"Had this resolution
been vetoed, it was the judgment
of all the Mideast experts, not disputed by our friends
in Israel, that we would have, A, gravely endangered
American citizens throughout the Mideast, there would
have been attacks on Americans, and the American role
in the process to bring it under control would have
been eroded because our relationships would have been
torn apart with key Arab states,"
US UN AMBASSADOR RICHARD HOLBROOKE
MID-EAST REALITIES - www.MiddleEast.Org - Washington - 10-11-00:
We're not so sure that Clinton has really blocked anything. There is a long history of the U.S. and Israel working these issues together, however much they pretend otherwise. It's been little more than the "Good Cop - Bad Cop" game for quite a long time now -- that is the reality. Furthermore, Clinton is the consummate actor -- remember his waging his finger in front of the whole nation proclaiming "I DID NOT...when he knew very well that he DID"? And during Camp David we did advise everyone to go out and get that classic movie, "The Sting"...with Robert Redford...and realize that Arafat was "the mark".
But we do know that Clinton's legacy is indeed threatened...and he's certainly pissed about that.
We'll have more analysis and commentary soon. Right now these two very interesting articles just published:
CLINTON BLOCKED BARAK FROM LAUNCHING ATTACK
TEL AVIV - MIDDLE EAST NEWSLINE - Oct 10: Tuesday, October 10, 2000
U.S. President Bill Clinton has pressured Israel to delay any offensive against the Palestinian Authority and instead attend a leadership summit to renew peace negotiations.
Clinton spoke for more than an hour on late Monday with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak before an Israeli Cabinet meeting. The meeting was called to decide on Israel's next step after Barak's 48-hour ultimatum expired without what officials said was a significant decrease in Palestinian violence.
"The full implementation of this is being delayed by several days," Barak said. "This action has prompted the world leaders to appeal to us, come to us, to delay this for several days. We think we are acting out of common sense. We are in a new situation that is unique in which we confront a complicated challenge."
"If we find ourselves in a long, painful, difficult confrontation of many long months, it will not be important if we held on for another 72 or 96 hours," Barak added.
On late Saturday, Barak said he was giving the PA 48 hours to end the violence before he responds militarily. Israeli officials said the United States responded by sending several messages to Barak asking for an extension of the ultimatum.
"I don't think there is room for an ultimatum," Justice Minister Yossi Beilin said. "I think we should give time for the Americans and Egyptians."
At its meeting, the Cabinet decided on early Tuesday to increase restrictions on Palestinian entry in Israel and maintain the closure of the PA airport in Gaza. A Cabinet communique said Barak ordered the military to "expand their areas of activity in defense of Israeli citizens and soldiers by all appropriate means."
Aides to Barak said Clinton pressed Barak to attend a summit with PA Chairman Yasser Arafat as early as this week. The aides said Barak appears ready to attend on condition that Palestinian violence subsides.
Arab diplomatic sources said Clinton wants to convene a summit, which will also include Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, by Thursday either in Sharm e-Sheik or in Europe. The sources said Clinton wants to end the violence and renew peace negotiations before Arab leaders convene on Oct. 21 in Cairo.
Barak aides said the prime minister has failed to persuade the Clinton administration to blame Arafat for the current violence in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Barak has told Clinton that peace efforts should wait until the aging Arafat ends his political career and is replaced by somebody more receptive to peace.
Israeli officials said the Barak government has been disappointed by Clinton's response to the current violence in the Middle East. They pointed to the decision by Washington over the weekend to abstain during a vote for a United Nations Security Council resolution that blamed Israel for violence in the West Bank and Gaza.
U.S. envoy to the UN Richard Holbrooke said Washington decided not to
veto the bill to prevent an anti-American backlash in the Arab world.
"Had this resolution been vetoed, it was the judgment of all the Mideast experts, not disputed by our friends in Israel, that we would have, A, gravely endangered American citizens throughout the Mideast, there would have been attacks on Americans, and the American role in the process to bring it under control would have been eroded because our relationships would have been torn apart with key Arab states," Holbrooke said.
Mubarak also pressed Barak to suspend his ultimatum. Mubarak met Arafat on Monday in Cairo in what officials described as an effort to stop Israeli attacks on Palestinians.
The Egyptian leader telephoned leaders of Algeria, Morocco, Saudi Arabia and Syria regarding an emergency Arab summit in Cairo on Oct. 21. Mubarak has been besieged by calls from Arabs, including the leaders of Libya and Yemen to launch war against Israel. Saudi Arabia has also threatened to respond to any Israeli offensive against the Palestinians.
"Barak must think carefully before making the slightest intolerable step," Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah said. "No one can imagine that the Saudi kingdom and the entire Arab, Islamic nation would remain still."
U.S., Russian and France leaders were also in contact with Arab leaders, including Syrian President Bashar Assad.
UN secretary-general Kofi Annan met Israeli acting Foreign Minister Shlomo Ben-Ami. On Tuesday, Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov met Ben-Ami as Annan met Arafat.
Annan and Ivanov have been working for a prisoner exchange to free three Israeli soldiers captured last week by Hizbullah. Hizbullah has demanded that Israel release its members and Palestinian detainees.
"The conflict must not be allowed to spread," Annan said. "The time
CLINTON SEES HIS LEGACY IN FLAMES
By Ben Fenton in Washington
London Daily Telegraph - 10 Oct: PRESIDENT CLINTON, who cancelled all engagements yesterday to concentrate on the Middle East crisis is seeing his "legacy go up in flames", according to a White House aide quoted yesterday.
After a night without sleep as he cajoled statesmen across the region, Mr Clinton faces the obliteration of his peace initiatives, leaving nothing to show for years of effort.
In the past 48 hours he has spoken by telephone to Ehud Barak, the Israeli Prime Minister, and the leaders of all the countries bordering Israel, as well as Yasser Arafat. He was pressing for a peace summit and also asked President Bashir Assad of Syria to arrange for the release of three Israeli soldiers captured by the Hizbollah militia on Israel's border with Lebanon.
White House staff used powerful language to stress the importance of getting Mr Arafat and Mr Barak to the negotiating table.
The summit was needed "to look for something that would stop a chain reaction like August 1914", a Clinton aide told the New York Times. "It is not only [Mr Clinton's] legacy going up in flames, but US interests in the region."
Since the early days of his presidency, Mr Clinton has shown a desire to bring peace to intractable conflicts around the world. But he has become personally involved in two regions, the Middle East and Northern Ireland.
In both places a final peace deal seems impossible before he leaves office in January. After his personal tribulations with impeachment over the Monica Lewinsky affair, Mr Clinton said he considered reconciling Jew and Arab to be his "personal journey of atonement" for his past sins.
With the end of Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement, last night,
Mr Clinton will have reflected that his personal journey seems certain
to end well short of its destination.
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