Tel aviv: According to a new book about to hit the shelves in Britain, Israel eavesdropped on phone conversations between US president Bill Clinton and the late Syrian leader Hafez Assad during sensitive peace negotiations between Israel and Syria in 1999.
The allegations in the book, reported by Newsweek, are the latest in a series of reports regarding Israeli spying on US targets. The reports have been vehemently rejected by Israel and largely dismissed by American officials.
The book by British-Israeli political scientist Ahron Bregman, cites purported verbatim transcripts of the Clinton-Assad calls which he says he obtained through “private sources.”
Bregman writes in Cursed Victory: A History of Israel and the Occupied Territories, that Israel also listened in as Syria’s foreign minister called the elder Assad to report on private meetings with US officials. The author further claims that he received transcripts of confidential talks between Clinton and then-prime minister Ehud Barak, as well as a letter marked “SECRET” from Clinton’s secretary of state Madeleine Albright to Barak’s predecessor and current prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, in which the Americans promised to check with Israel first before offering any peace proposals to the Arabs.
“Recognising the desirability of avoiding putting forward proposals that Israel would consider unsatisfactory,” Albright wrote to Netanyahu in November, 1998, “the US will conduct a thorough consultation process with Israel in advance with respect to any ideas the US may wish to offer to the parties for their consideration.