After leading Monday with the news that the Israeli Cabinet was having "second thoughts" about President Clinton's visit to Israel this weekend because of worries that he would encourage Palestinian claims to statehood and press Israel to give up more territory to the Palestinian Authority, the leading Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz condemned Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Tuesday for "conducting a chorus of war whoops by his ministers against Israel's most important friend." Saying that Netanyahu had had plenty of opportunity to make any reservations he might have had about the presidential visit known at the time of the Wye Plantation talks, Ha'aretz added in an editorial: "What good will it do for Israel's strategic interests to transform the visit that was to have strengthened Palestinian public support for the peace process into an open crisis in Israel-US relations?"
Netanyahu was also under fierce attack Tuesday in the conservative Jerusalem Post for his delaying tactics to extend the life of his beleaguered government. Calling for early elections, the paper said in an editorial that the sight of Netanyahu making wholesale promises to any member of the Knesset within earshot, "pleading and cajoling them while casting about for any tactical move that could possibly avert the fall of his government, was more than merely embarrassing. It indicated that this government is coming to the end of its road."
The Jerusalem Post also revealed Tuesday that Clinton will not be staying in the largest and most expensive suite in the Jerusalem Hilton--"the recently inaugurated $1,720 a night Rabin Suite on the ninth floor"--but in the smaller $1,380 a night Presidential Suite on the floor above. The Rabin Suite is being given to Madeleine Albright, who had requested that its kitchen be equipped with a toaster, it said. The paper marveled at the effort and expense that have gone into the arrangements for such a brief visit. "Over the past week, some 25 rooms on the third and eighth floors have been set up for Clinton's delegation and converted into offices, some of them code-named POTUS (president of the United States) and some code-named FLOTUS (first lady of the United States)," it said. The Presidential Suite contains "an extremely well-stocked mini-bar," "a sugared silver bowl of chocolate truffles," and "a bookcase containing several ancient clay pots and 58 books on Judaism and Israel," it added. As for the president's bed, the paper said the mattress is "quite hard."