Middle East Inch by Inch, Step by Step

In dealing with Shamir, Bush tries patient incrementalism

Well, expectations were low. So, few were surprised when the latest round of Middle East diplomacy in Washington last week produced little measurable progress, though many were disappointed.

Not, however, Yitzhak Shamir. Determined to resist any American effort to press him into major negotiations or concessions, the Israeli Prime Minister told journalists flying with him to the U.S., "I am immune to pressure." So he was. For the Israeli delegation, the absence of any public breach between the two nations during two days of talks was itself a victory. Shamir had feared that President Bush might push an international peace conference,...

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