Between "Rock Solid" and a Hard Place

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WASHINGTON, D.C.: If Benjamin Netanyahu came to Washington to woo Bill Clinton, as he hoped, he had a funny way of showing it. When the two emerged from a White House meeting Tuesday during Netanyahu's first U.S. visit as Israeli prime minister, Clinton appeared stiff as Netanyahu reiterated his campaign line, that security would come before peace. "Israel is eager to make progress, but we cannot to do it alone," Netanyahu said. "We want to live up to agreements but cannot be the only ones. We yield to no one in our desire for peace." Clinton, of course, had supported Shimon Peres, the narrow loser in the May 29 Israeli election and the surest ticket to continued peace talks with Syria under U.S. auspices. Although Netanyahu had clearly set out to warm up relations with the White House, he rejected unconditional peace talks with Syria and said he had no plans to meet with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. "There wasn't a meeting of the minds on these major issues," reports TIME's Dean Fischer. "It all seemed rather vague and not particularly reassuring that Israel would abide by commitments made in the past." Clinton, who is loath to provoke a confrontation with Israel before Election Day, merely said that the relationship remained "rock solid." And then a parting dig: "The tide of history cannot be turned. Going back would be a mistake." -- Jenifer Mattos