First Lady sticks to a safe agenda for Jerusalem visit
Thursday 11 November 1999
But the American First Lady, who touched down yesterday for a trip to the region, had political reasons of her own to avoid Middle East politics - namely, her own as yet undeclared senatorial contest at home. Whatever she says and does on her trip - the agenda is built around safe social issues like health and violence in schools - it will inevitably be seen as a pitch for the critical Jewish vote in New York.
She is therefore unlikely to repeat her statement last year, which angered the Israeli right wing, that the Palestinians should eventually have a "functioning modern state", a remark that was also criticised for pre- empting the peace negotiations.
The trip is full of footfalls. Her US advisers have reportedly long agonised over whether she should travel to Palestinian-controlled areas or venture into Jerusalem's Old City to visit the Wailing Wall, a sacred site among Jews but an age-old flashpoint in the conflict. While the latter may advance her senatorial bid, it could prove damaging to the interests of her husband, who is pushing to seal a peace deal before the end of his term.
Mrs Clinton said nothing publicly as she touched down at Ben-Gurion airport. But she was not allowed to forget her political future. During a trip to Tel Aviv University to deliver a speech, four students appeared brandishing a banner reading "American Jews Support Rudy Guiliani" - the city's republican mayor, and her likely rival.She then travelled to Jerusalem for a private dinner with the Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Barak, and his wife, Nava.
Her visit, which was postponed from March because of the Israeli elections and the death of King Hussein of Jordan, also includes a visit to the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum outside Jerusalem, a trip to an Israel hospital, and an event for mothers and children in the Palestinian-run West Bank city of Ramallah.
- 1 Man who held up 'hire me' sign at Waterloo station returns a year later with 'I'm hiring' sign
- 4 Tennis fan suing Australian Open organisers for 'failing to shade spectators' during Murray match
- 5 This crazy skiing video will leave you feeling queasy
Man who held up 'hire me' sign at Waterloo station returns a year later with 'I'm hiring' sign
Mother of newborn Baby No 59 trapped in sewer pipe told Chinese police she 'heard crying' when she raised alarm
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
AirAsia QZ8501: Black box reveals warning alarms 'screamed' before crash, as more bodies recovered from near fuselage of jet
Rob Lowe hits out at White House decision not to meet Israeli leader
British Muslim leaders outraged after Eric Pickles says followers of Islam should 'prove their identity'
UK terror fears: My jihadist son returned from Syria mentally scarred – now he is being ignored
Nigel Farage: NHS might have to be replaced by private health insurance
Billy Crystal: 'Stop shoving gay sex scenes in my face'
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
Excellent Salary : Austen Lloyd: OXFORD - REGIONAL FIRM - An excellent opportu...
Super Package: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - SENIOR CLINICAL NEGLIGENCE - An outstan...
£15000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Fantastic opportunities are ava...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Compute Engineer is required to join a globa...