Keep an eye, though, on where Arafat breaks bread: Possibly in order to signal his displeasure at Netanyahu’s failure to come up with a credible West Bank withdrawal plan, the President Tuesday eschewed the traditional formal working lunch with his guest, leaving the Israeli leader to sup with Al Gore in the basement of the White House staff canteen. The message to Netanyahu will be unmistakable if the Palestinian leader gets table service with the President.
WASHINGTON: Following Tuesday’s nothing-to-report meetings with Benjamin Netanyahu, President Clinton meets Thursday with Yasser Arafat. The pattern is familiar, says TIME West Bank correspondent Jamil Hamad: “After Thursday, they’ll send a U.S. envoy to the region to get talks restarted. Both sides will repeat the same complaints they presented to Clinton. The envoy will leave, the situation will deteriorate and then, at some point, they’ll be back in the White House.”