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September 2000 - Return to Monthly Index         MiddleEast.Org 9/06/00
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MID-EAST REALITIES - www.MiddleEast.Org - Washington - 9/8/00:
Last week we published an article that Bill Clinton would this week further "upgrade"
the U.S. relationship with Israel, giving the little Jewish state everything but a formal defense treaty.  Making Israel a "strategic ally" of the U.S. was also giving the Arabs a strategic slap we concluded, doubly so in its timing.

Well, the timing has been put off.  It appears the Israelis may have pre-empted a bit, wanting to have the announcement while Barak was in the U.S. at the U.N. and giving him something to take home to help him hang onto the PM title.  And maybe too the Americans realized they can only push the Arabs so far, only humiliate them so many times, and that the timing for this all-but-defense-treaty really wasn't too good with all the hoopla at the United Nations and efforts still ahead to cajole Yasser Arafat into another White House signing ceremony for Bill to preside over.

Clinton will in all likelihood be paying the Israelis off with this "strategy ally" move, and probably a few others -- the release of Jonathan Pollard, another step toward moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem -- before he leaves the White House, count on it.  And depending on the polls come October he may well time these actions to further boost Hillary's Senate run and Al's White House chances.  But at this particular moment these things are still to come.

And by the way, here's how Israel's Ha'aretz newspaper dealt with some aspects of this story a few days ago; downplaying it for understandable reasons.  And no, we don't think the fact that MER published its story two days earlier -- calling what Clinton was about to do "the equivalent of a kind of military/strategic rape" of the Arabs and reminding everyone of the great debts Clinton is still paying to the Israeli/Jewish lobby for helping bring him to power -- had anything to do with it.
Wish it were so.


               by Aluf Ben, Ha'aretz Correspondent

Ha'aretz Breaking News 9/3/2000:

The U.S. government announced that it would not declare an "upgrade" of the
strategic arms relationship with Israel.  An Israeli team is currently in
Washington in an attempt to complete a series of agreements with America
concerning the joint military cooperation between the two.

Prime Minster Ehud Barak's office hoped that the agreements would be
completed by the time Barak meets with U.S. President Bill Clinton on
Wednesday this week at the Millenium Conference in New York. A source in
Jerusalem said that the talks are "progressing nicely" but an agreement
would not be reached by the end of this week.

American officials expressed outrage on the publication of the expectations
of the new agreement and blamed their Israeli counterparts of jumping the
gun.  Clinton promised to strengthen the military ties between Israel and the
U.S. in return for Barak not changing his decision reached at last month's
Camp David Summit, even if an agreement with the Palestinians would not be
reached.  However, the Americans believed that announcing the "upgrade" at
this point in time, during the delicate situation between the Israelis and
Palestinians, would appear as a provoked attack against the Palestinians.

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