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May 19, 1989 - Image 35

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1989-05-19

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"In the current era, such
cooperation is at least con-
ceivable. This is one area
where the United States can
and should make a greater ef-
fort to test the Gorbachev
regime's intentions. Why not
press the Soviets to bear down
on the Syrians, the Libyans
and the Iraqis concerning
chemical weapons?"
While the United States is
studying the Soviet Union's
newly expanded role in the
Middle East, the administra-
tion is exploring the future of
Shamir's election plans.
There are no illusions that
the proposal will be easy to
implement; the administra-
tion is aware of the sen-
sitivities involved.
But they also recognize that
once a diplomatic process gets
off the ground — even slowly
— there is no way of predic-
ting where it will lead. They
want to exploit the Shamir
proposal, and in the process
they hope to ease the tensions
in the area as well.
Although the intifada will
continue, the United States
would like to see some of the
worst aspects of the uprising
end as the election process
moves forward.
The Ross delegation has
asked the Israelis for specific
answers to a series of ques-
tions on the elections, and
since Shamir's visit Israeli ex-
perts have been formulating
responses, as urged by the
U.S. officials believe that
they will have a very good
chance to conclude whether
their prevailing positive
assessment about Shamir's
desire to get peace talks mov-
ing is accurate during and im-
mediately after the Ross visit
to Jerusalem. Their attitude
will be shaped by the nature
of the Israeli replies to the
U.S. questions.
The Americans, of course,
want to see some flexibility in
Jerusalem; they want to be
able to inform the Palesti-
nians and other Arabs that
Shamir is in fact serious
about doing business with
Ross, who is personally a
strong advocate of close U.S.-
Israeli strategic cooperation,
was instructed to press for the
right answers.

For the time being, however,
the ball is again in Israel's
court. The assessment in the
administration is that a flex-
ible Israeli reply will be met
by some PLO flexibility as
well. And then the next
step will take place.

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