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January 31, 1992 - Image 32

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1992-01-31

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

BAC KG ROU N D

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I Over

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Customer can, but has no obligation to purchase vehicle at lease end.

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32

FRIDAY, JANUARY 31, 1992

ver since the flap last
September over the
$10 billion in loan
guarantees for Israel, when
President Bush locked horns
with the pro-Israel lobby and
got the issue postponed for
four months, Israelis have
been living with a sense of
waiting for the other shoe to
drop.
Would the American
government come through
with the guarantees or not?
And if it did, exactly what
would it demand in return?
The answer to the second
question was easier to
predict, since it has been
clear for some time that the
matter at stake would be
continued Israeli settlement
in the occupied territories.
Thus as the new deadline
approached, Prime Minister
Yitzhak Shamir fueled the
tension by declaring that
"the construction in the ter-
ritories will continue; no
power on earth will stop it."
And Finance Minister Yit-
zhak Moda'i gave the pot
another stir by announcing
that "if the guarantees are
conditional upon bringing
the settlements to a halt, my
answer will be 'no,' even if it
brings suffering down upon
the citizenry " — an oddly
impolitic statement in an
election year.
Yet now that the shoe has
dropped, with Secretary of
State James Baker making
the guarantees conditional

upon an end to Israeli
building in the territories
(beyond completing "works
in progress"), the reaction in
Jerusalem has been strange-
ly muted. Actually, the
government has been divid-
ed on how to respond for
public consumption.
Initially, at least, Mr.
Shamir and some of his min-
isters not only played down
the gravity of the dilemma
but tried to put a happy face
on it by emphasizing the full
half of the glass.
The good news, they
pointed out, was that the
Bush Administration was
committed to providing the
guarantees and considering
last week's Wall Street
Journal-NBC poll showing
that 73 percent of the
American electorate opposed
granting the guarantees,
Israel had ample grounds to
feel relieved.
As to the bad news —
namely, the stiff price for
Mr. Shamir's right-wing
government — well, that
was still open to negotiation,
Mr. Shamir implied, and he
was confident that some
mutually acceptable formula
could be worked out. In fact,
there are indications both in
Jerusalem and Washington
that a compromise will be
successfully negotiated.
Yet even when he got
tougher and made it clear
that "Israel (is) not talking
about any freeze on set-
tlements," the statement
barely made waves. It was
not quoted on the prime-time

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