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.

News
Jennifer Lawrence was among the stars allegedly hacked
peopleActress and 100 others on 'master list' after massive hack
Sport
Radamel Falcao
footballManchester United agree loan deal for Monaco striker Falcao
Sport
Louis van Gaal, Radamel Falcao, Arturo Vidal, Mats Hummels and Javier Hernandez
footballFalcao, Hernandez, Welbeck and every deal live as it happens
Sport
footballFeaturing Bart Simpson
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Voices
A man shoots at targets depicting a portrait of Russian President Vladimir Putin, in a shooting range in the center of the western Ukrainian city of Lviv
voicesIt's cowardice to pretend this is anything other than an invasion
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
Arts and Entertainment
booksNovelist takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Arts and Entertainment
The eyes have it: Kate Bush
music
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

PPC Co-Ordinator – Permanent - West Sussex – £24-£30k

£24000 - £30000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Are you a Marketin...

Senior Asset Manager

£70000 - £75000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: Katie Robinson +44 (...

Special Needs Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Birmingham: Special needs teachers required! Sh...

EBD Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Birmingham: EBD teachers re West Midlands

Day In a Page

Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor