Ten seconds that shook the Middle East

Arabs fear Israeli hold on Clinton's new team

High among President Bill Clinton's New Year resolutions will be to do all in his power to forge a lasting peace settlement between Israelis and Palestinians. However, two recent appointments he has made to top jobs in his administration have only made the challenge more daunting.

Madeleine Albright, the President's designated Secretary of State, and Rahm Emanuel, who replaces George Steph-anopoulos as senior White House adviser, will only encourage the perception of the Palestinians and the Arab world that America cannot be trusted to play honest broker in the Middle Eastern conflict.

Given the huge distrust that Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu generates among Arabs, America's mediating role as negotiations evolve beyond the Hebron deal towards "final status" talks will become more critical than ever.

President Clinton will be seeking to press home the advantage by helping Israel rebuild bridges with its Arab neighbours, notably Egypt and Jordan. He would also like to add Syria to the peace equation Syria, as Israel's all-important security concerns cannot be met with Syrian co-operation

The prospects of Ms Albright faring any better than the outgoing Warren Christopher at persuading Syria to do business with Mr Netanyahu, are not good. It is not only a question of style, although temperamentally Ms Albright is to Mr Christopher as Lady Thatcher was to Sir Geoffrey Howe. More to the point, Ms Albright's record as US ambassador to the United Nations offered evidence once more of America's special relationship with Israel.

Mr Emanuel remains for now a relatively unknown quantity. But as his fame spreads, the news will also reach the Arab world that the middle name of President Clinton's new eminence grise is Israel.

Rahm Israel Emanuel's father fought with the Israeli underground in the war for Israeli nationhood. Mr Emanuel senior named his three sons after Israeli heroes who died in that war. The Emanuel family was brought up in Chicago but summer holidays were always spent in the Jewish homeland. Rahm Emanuel was born in the US but kept Israeli dual citizenship until he was 18. During the Gulf War he displayed his allegiance to the land of his father when he volunteered to serve in the Israeli army. He spent two-and-a-half weeks at a military base near the Lebanese border.

It was events at the Lebanese border eight months ago which revealed to Arab leaders the extent of Ms Albright's commitment to the Israeli cause. She argued vehemently against a UN decision to publish a human- rights report heavily critical of the Israeli artillery bombardment of Qana, in southern Lebanon, which killed more than 100 Palestinian refugees. Ms Albright said publication of the report would damage American peace efforts.

Boutros Boutros-Ghali said in an interview in November that colleagues at the UN had warned him at the time that his decision to overrule Ms Albright's request not to publish the report would cost him his job as UN Secretary-General.

In an article published in yesterday's New York Times Mr Boutros-Ghali, who bade his final farewell to the UN yesterday, said Ms Albright was well aware of the difficulties she would encounter in persuading the Arab world of her "bona fides".

Mr Boutros-Ghali was at a dinner two weeks ago attended by Ms Albright. It was a tense encounter, for only days earlier she had succeeded in her crusade to dash his hopes of a second term as Secretary-General. "What went wrong?" he asked her. "Why this campaign against me for six months?"

According to Mr Boutros-Ghali, she she fobbed him off an "official interpretation" and then proceeded to ask him for help in the new challenges she would face after her promotion to Secretary of State.

"She asked me to help her in relations with the Arabs," said Mr Boutros- Ghali, an Egyptian veteran of Middle Eastern diplomacy. "She made the point that she knew because she was against my re-election that the Arab world was not happy."

Suggested Topics
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham
booksLena Dunham's memoirs - written at the age of 28 - are honest to the point of making you squirm
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvDownton Abbey review: It's six months since we last caught up with the Crawley clan
Sport
Frank Lampard and his non-celebration
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
techNew app offers 'PG alternative' to dating services like Tinder
News
Jacqueline Bisset has claimed that young women today are obsessed with being 'hot', rather than 'charming', 'romantic' or 'beautiful'
people
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
Sport
premier league
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave crime series
Sport
Mario Balotelli celebrates his first Liverpool goal
premier leagueLiverpool striker expressed his opinion about the 5-3 thriller with Leicester - then this happened
News
Britain's shadow chancellor Ed Balls (L) challenges reporter Rob Merrick for the ball during the Labour Party versus the media soccer match,
peopleReporter left bleeding after tackle from shadow Chancellor in annual political football match
Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says
tvSpoiler warning: Star of George RR Martin's hit series says viewers have 'not seen the last' of him/her
News
i100
News
i100
Sport
Plenty to ponder: Amir Khan has had repeated problems with US immigration because of his Muslim faith and now American television may shun him
boxing
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Head of Marketing and Communications - London - up to £80,000

£70000 - £80000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Group Head of Marketing and Communic...

Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: Level 3 Nursery Nurse required for ...

Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: L3 Nursery Nurses urgently required...

SEN Teaching Assistant

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: We have a number of schools based S...

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments