Deutch, Christopher Flesh Out Anti-Terrorism Accord with Peres
TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) _ CIA Director John Deutch and Secretary of State Warren Christopher joined Israelis Friday in working out major provisions of a counterterrorism agreement that provides for pooling intelligence about militant Islamic groups.
``The purpose is tracking down the enemies of peace,″ Christopher said after he and Deutch met with Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres at the Israeli Defense Ministry.
Christopher said a final agreement, providing for ``a comprehensive strategy″ to protect Israel’s borders against infiltrators, is expected to be ready for signing when Peres visits Washington next month.
Among the technology are bomb detection devices that can monitor groups of people far more quickly than cumbersome and intrusive individual searches. Christopher said the result would be easier transit for Palestinian workers going to jobs in Israel from the West Bank and Gaza.
Four suicide bombers from Gaza killed 62 people from Feb. 25 to March 4, causing many Israelis to question whether Peres’ policy of turning over most of the territories to the Palestine Liberation Organization risks their security.
Since Israel and the PLO signed an accord in September 1993, a total of 213 men, women and children have perished at the hands of terrorists _ the largest civilian toll in Israel’s 48-year history.
Peres has turned to the United States for help, even though Israel’s counterterrorism techniques are world-renowned and past Israeli leaders have emphasized the nation’s capacity to protect itself.
At a joint news conference, Peres emphasized the huge task confronting his government. ``While terror can be done by small groups, anti-terrorism requires a wide system,″ he said.
American technology and training valued at about $100 million were pledged to Israel by President Clinton on Thursday. Senior U.S. and Israeli officials discussed the details until 3 a.m. Friday, and then Deutch and Christopher approved shipments with Peres, who is also Israel’s defense minister.
Christopher said most of the equipment would be delivered in the next few weeks.
While Peres and the Clinton administration are promoting cooperation with Palestinian police in tracking down terrorists in Gaza and on the West Bank, Peres and U.S. officials said Friday sophisticated U.S. technology would not be shared with the Palestinian Authority.
Christopher, meanwhile, appealed to European countries to cut their trade with Iran, which the United States and Israel consider the prime supporter of terrorist groups, including Hamas.
``The United States is convinced the time has come for our friends and allies in Europe and Asia to reconsider their stance toward Iran,″ Christopher said. ``The evidence is clear that Iran continues to front and train and provide political support to Hezbollah, the Islamic Jihad and Hamas.″
Israeli officials said they envisioned using much of the U.S. aid to help establish a separation zone with the West Bank to try to prevent terrorist infiltration. The zone, which would include electronic fences, guard towers and bomb-sniffing dogs, was first proposed by Israel’s late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and was approved by the Israeli Cabinet on March 3.
In Washington, however, a State Department official said, ``The United States does not intend for any of its aid to be used in any kind of permanent separation zone.″
Clinton intends to use $50 million already approved by Congress, and is asking for another $50 million for the fiscal year that begins in October.
``Fear must be conquered, security must be restored and peace must be pursued,″ Clinton said.
On Friday, Israel lifted restrictions that confined more than 1 million Palestinians to their towns, but did not ease a closure that barred residents of the West Bank and Gaza from entering Israel.
Clinton and Christopher are backing Peres on sealing the border.