Netanyahu Skips Summit to Defend Budget

  • Share
  • Read Later
JERUSALEM: Internal political considerations prevented Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat from beginning the New Year with an agreement in place on Israeli troop withdrawal from Hebron. Netanyahu was forced to postpone his New Year’s Eve summit with Arafat in order to guide his 1997 budget through the Israeli Knesset as crucial close votes coincided with the peace talks. U.S. mediator Dennis Ross said that while the two sides were very close on the Hebron agreement, “We are not there yet.” While peace is vital to Israel, Netanyahu confronted a domestic challenge that kept him in Parliament fighting for his budget through the final moments of 1997.