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September 22, 1989 - Image 30

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1989-09-22

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

CAPITOL REPORT I



Reagan Seen As More
Pro-Israel Than Bush

WOLF BLITZER

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ashington — An ex-
perienced Washing-
ton observer the
other day summed up the
basic difference between
presidents George Bush and
Ronald Reagan as far as Is-
rael is concerned.
"When Reagan was in-
formed of some controversial
action taken by Israel,” he
said, "his instinctive reac-
tion was to say that Israel
must have had a good reason
for doing it. When Bush is
informed of a similar action
taken by Israel, his im-
mediate reaction is to say'
that the United States must
find a way to distance itself
from Israel."
His point is illustrated by
Reagan's initially expressed
understanding for Israel's
bombing of the Iraqi nuclear
reactor in June 1981 or of
the Palestine Liberation Or-
ganization's headquarters in
Tunis in October 1985.
Bush, however, rushed to
disassociate the United
States from Israel's recent
abduction of Hezbollah'
Sheik Obeid.
While certainly not anti-
Israeli in any traditional
sense, Bush is not as instinc-
tively pro-Israeli as his pre-
decessor.
Bush's background at the
United Nations, the Central
Intelligence Agency and the
big business world of oil has
influenced the president.
There are also some very
clear differences emerging
between Secretary of State
James Baker and his prede-
cessor, George Shultz.
Senior Israeli politicians
who have spent time with
both Americans agree that
Baker does not exhibit the
same warmth toward Israel
that Shultz did. When Baker
meets with Israeli officials,
it's almost always hard-
nosed business; there is very
little friendly banter. The
new secretary, unlike
Shultz, shows no emotion.
But Baker, like Bush, is
also no enemy of Israel. Both
men admire Israel's spunk
and guts, and they under-
stand the strategic role it
plays in the region. But be-
cause they are politicians,
they also appreciate the spe-
cial place that Israel
has carved out for itself in
the American political
scene.
As a result, neither is anx-
ious to get into any real con-
frontation with Israel's can-

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President Bush: More deliberate.

tankerous political leader-
hip.
s Both Bush and Baker
learned during the eight
years of the Reagan admin-
istration that success stories
in the Middle East are hard
to find.
The hard-won success of
former President Jimmy
Carter at Camp David and
the earlier breakthroughs of
Secretary of State Henry
Kissinger are ancient
history as far as the Bush
administration is concerned.
This helps to explain why
the White House and the

Bush's background
at the United
Nations, the
Central
Intelligence
Agency and the big
business world of
oil has influenced
the president.

State Department are in no
hurry to immerse them-
selves in the Arab-Israeli
peace process. For the most
part, Bush, Baker and their
colleagues regard it as a
very risky, even no-win situ-
ation.
Defense Minister Yitzhak
Rabin and Jordan's Crown
Prince Hassan both emerged
from meetings with Bush,
Baker and other U.S. offi-
cials in recent days re-
portedly upset by the admin-
istration's reluctance to get
too directly involved in the
peace process.
Barring some major devel-
opment, Egyptian President
Hosni Mubarak and Finance
Minister Shimon Peres, who

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