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White House Denies Urging Europeans to Hold Up Loan Guarantees for Israel

March 30, 1992
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The Bush administration has denied charges that it is urging Western European countries to follow its example and refuse to provide loan guarantees to Israel unless it agrees to stop building settlements in the administered territories.

The charges, which were called “disturbing” by one American Jewish leader, surfaced last week in the Israeli daily Ma’ariv and the New York newspaper Newsday.

Ma’ariv said that the United States has been trying to discourage the European Community countries from providing Israel with guarantees.

Newsday quoted German officials as saying that the government of Chancellor Helmut Kohl had decided not to provide Israel with loan guarantees now.

An unidentified Kohl aide told the newspaper that to provide such aid would be a “stab in the back” to U.S. peace efforts in the Middle East.

The reports of administration pressure on the Europeans drew a sharp response from Rabbi Alexander Schindler, president of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, which is the congregational arm of Reform Judaism.

“Such a deplorable and reprehensible policy could only be regarded as a hostile and malicious act against a friend, ally and fellow democracy,” Schindler said in a letter to President Bush.

But White House spokesman Marlin Fitzwater insisted Friday that the reports are “not true. We emphatically deny them,” he said.

Fitzwater maintained that while the European countries know the U.S. position on settlements and loan guarantees, the administration is not trying to “influence their decision-making.”

In Bonn, a visiting delegation of Jewish leaders asked German officials to provide the aid.

“We would like you to act on the request consistent with the humanitarian commitment and not dependent on a particular decision of the United States,” Malcolm Hoenlein, executive director of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, reportedly told German officials.

Newsday also reported that at a dinner with German officials, Hoenlein predicted the United States would eventually provide the guarantees.

“We have the Congress with us, three-quarters of the Senate and a majority of the House” of Representatives, and Bush and Secretary of State James Baker “are only two people,” Hoenlein was quoted as saying.

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