Secret Deals

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JERUSLEM: Did Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meet secretly with a representative of Syrian President Hafez Assad just before his trip to Washington, D.C. last month? The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reports that the two men met in early July to discuss the withdrawal of Israeli troops from Lebanon. According to Haaretz, Netanyahu offered Assad a deal in which Israeli troops would pull out if Syria guaranteed certain security arrangements along the Israeli-Lebanese border. Netanyahu's government flatly denies that the meeting took place. "It didn't happen," said David Bar Illan, Netanyahu's spokesman. If it did, the Lebanese do not approve. Lebanon's President Elias Hrawi said Thursday in Beirut that Lebanon will not stand for a unilateral Israeli-imposed deal. "Haaretz has a good reputation," says TIME's Johanna McGeary. "Lots of Israelis would like to get out of Lebanon. They are sick of their boys dying over there. But I would be dumbfounded if Syria would agree to such a deal without getting back the Golan Heights. It is to Netanyahu's advantage to be talking about peace deals which are couched in such terms that he doesn't have to deliver. The whole report -->