Middle East: No Give and Take

Washington and Jerusalem find themselves at loggerheads over aid, even as a denouement to the hostage drama appears to be at hand

On the face of it, the request seemed reasonable enough -- especially since the friend doing the asking was also the friend destined to be doing the giving. But last week when President Bush, anxious to keep the Middle East peace process on track, asked Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir to delay his request for $10 billion in loan guarantees to help with the settlement of Soviet Jewish emigres, Shamir responded with a belligerent no. Americans, Shamir insisted, "are obliged, from a moral point of view, to give Israel this aid." Moreover, he lectured, "humanitarian aid" should not be mixed up...

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