US prepares to unfreeze dollars 10bn Israel loan deal

THE BUSH administration is hurrying to mend fences with Israel's new government. Although gaps and misunderstandings still exist on the awkward question of Jewish settlements, officials in Washington expect some kind of deal to be worked out in the next few weeks on the dollars 10bn ( pounds 5.3bn) in loan guarantees frozen by the US government last year.

The US Secretary of State, James Baker, arrives in Israel on Sunday for talks with the newly installed Labour government of Yitzhak Rabin. He will also visit Arab capitals to get the peace process going again.

President George Bush has invited Mr Rabin to visit him at his holiday home in Kennebunkport in Maine next month. This is a privilege offered only to world leaders with whom Mr Bush proposes to have a chatty, first-name relationship - a status denied to Mr Rabin's hardline predecessor, Yitzhak Shamir.

Having helped to achieve the result it wanted in the Israeli general election last month, the Bush administration is now driven partly by electoral considerations of its own. Progress in the US- sponsored Middle East peace talks would be a modestly useful feather in the President's cap as he seeks to contrast his international expertise with the inexperience of Bill Clinton and Ross Perot.

More significantly, it would dampen the anger in the US Jewish community, which had no particular love for the defeated Shamir government, but loathed the sight of a US government using the aid weapon against Israel for the first time. Although most Jews vote Democrat in any case, the strong anti-Bush mood in the Jewish community could be a significant mobilising - and fund- raising - force in key states like New York and California.

The loan guarantees, to underwrite the resettlement of Russian and Jewish immigrants, are an important factor in the Rabin government's attempts to shore up the Israeli economy. Washington has changed the precise wording of its conditions for releasing the loans on several occasions. But a sizeable gap still appears to exist between the US and the new Israeli government. The Bush administration wants Israel to freeze all new settlements on land occupied by Israel in the 1967 and 1973 wars. Mr Rabin says he will stop 'politically' motivated encroachments on Arab land but he supports 'enhanced' settlements necessary for 'security' reasons, around Jerusalem, in the Golan Heights and in the Jordan Valley.

Prospects for reopening the peace talks - due in Rome at a date still to be agreed - are also uncertain. Palestinian leaders have expressed disappointment at Mr Rabin's failure, in his opening statements as prime minister, to commit Israel to surrender occupied land as part of a peace deal.

In Tunis, Bassam Abu Sharif, a senior adviser to the PLO chairman, Yasser Arafat, complained that Mr Rabin failed to endorse UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338, which enshrine the land-for-peace principle. Mr Rabin did tell the Knesset on Monday night, however, that he would follow the 'principles' of the 1978 Camp David Accords, which were based on Resolution 242.

Sport
Premier League Live
footballLIVE Follow all the Premier League action as it happens
News
The slice of Prince Charles and Princess Diana's wedding cake and the original box from 29 July 1981
newsPiece of Charles and Diana's wedding cake sold at auction in US
Life and Style
3D printed bump keys can access almost any lock
gadgets + echSoftware needs photo of lock and not much more
News
James Argent from Towie is missing, police say
peopleTV star had been reported missing
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Arts and Entertainment
Gregg Wallace in Summer's Supermarket Secrets
tv All of this year's 15 contestants have now been named
News
i100(and it's got nothing to do with the Great British Bake Off)
Arts and Entertainment
Inside the gallery at Frederick Bremer School in Walthamstow
tvSimon Usborne goes behind the scenes to watch the latest series
Life and Style
A picture taken on January 12, 2011 shows sex shops at the Paris district of Pigalle.
newsThe industry's trade body issued the moratorium on Friday
Arts and Entertainment
Could we see Iain back in the Bake Off tent next week?
tv Contestant teased Newsnight viewers on potential reappearance
Life and Style
Silvia says of her famous creation: 'I never stopped wearing it. Because I like to wear things when they are off the radar'
fashionThe fashion house celebrated fifteen years of the punchy pouch with a weighty tome
News
i100
Voices
The Ukip leader has consistently refused to be drawn on where he would mount an attempt to secure a parliamentary seat
voicesNigel Farage: Those who predicted we would lose momentum heading into the 2015 election are going to have to think again
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012
film Cara Delevingne 'in talks' to star in Zoolander sequel
Sport
Mario Balotelli pictured in his Liverpool shirt for the first time
football
News
i100
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
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

Clinical Negligence Solicitor

Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: HAMPSHIRE MARKET TOWN - A highly attr...

Network Engineer (CCNP, CCNA, Linux, OSPF, BGP, Multicast, WAN)

£35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Network Engineer (CCNP, CCNA, Linux, OSPF,...

Commercial Property Solicitor - Bristol

Highly Attractive Package: Austen Lloyd: A VERY HIGH QUALITY FIRM A high qual...

DevOps Engineer (Systems Administration, Linux, Shell, Bash)

£50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: DevOps Engineer (Systems Administration, L...

Day In a Page

Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone