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Notebook: The Scoop

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Notebook: The Scoop

The Middle East: a diplomat gets a dressing down

Time cover

(TIME, June 16) -- Edward Abington, the able American consul general in Jerusalem, has the most delicate job in Middle East diplomacy: dealing with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. His job is made even more difficult by the U.S.'s apparent fear of offending Israel. The latest evidence: TIME has learned that Abington was rebuked by Secretary of State Madeleine Albright for his statement, quoted in the New York Times May 21, that Israel's settlement expansion in the occupied territories is "ideologically driven" rather than based on natural growth and a demand for housing.

Abington's statement reflects more than an educated hunch; it is the result of a semiannual CIA survey of settlement occupancy in the West Bank and Gaza. The agency's latest findings reveal a vacancy rate of 25% in the West Bank and twice that in the Gaza Strip. Those conclusions reflect a familiar reality; for years the Israelis have been engaged in settlement building in the occupied territories not because they need new housing but because they want to hold onto the land. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu denounced the survey as "false by an order of magnitude, to put it mildly." Everyone in the Clinton Administration, including Albright, knows that Netanyahu's settlement policy is a fundamental reason for the breakdown of peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. Abington's sin was to say publicly what they all confirm privately.

--By Dean Fischer

Winners & Losers

Doing The Nasty--In And Out Of Uniform

Winners

KELLY FLINN
First to talk, gets to walk. Leaves sordid service with book and movie prospects--and a little dignity

STRAYING PRESIDENTS
Rumored affairs by Chief Execs from F.D.R. to Clinton seem less startling in they-all-did-it climate

STEDMAN GRAHAM
Nope, I'm not gay, says Oprah, scotching rumors; no beard he

& Losers

WILLIAM COHEN
All adultery's not alike. Tries to stop Pentagon witch hunt, but women see double standard

MICHAEL J. BOWERS
Georgia gubernatorial candidate who zealously enforced sodomy law cops to office affair

BOB BENNETT
Every time he's on TV, Paula's price goes up 100 grand

Attache Art

There is art to diplomacy, certainly, but is there diplomatic art? Absolutely. The State Department's Art in Embassies program provides American paintings, sculptures, drawings--even weavings--to U.S. ambassadors who want to spruce up their residences and look tasteful and patriotic. Through agreements with an array of institutions, artists and collectors, the program encourages ambassadors to become their own art dealers, selecting works that strike their aesthetic fancy. Among the most chosen artists in the diplomatic service: Childe Hassam, Maurice Prendergast, Edward Hopper, Mark Rothko, Jacob Lawrence, Morris Louis, Andrew Wyeth, Robert Rauschenberg, Dale Chihuly and Helen Frankenthaler. Says director Roselyne Swig: "Our ambassadors see the works as an invaluable outreach tool."

HARMONY
To mirror Indonesian native crafts, Ambassador Stapleton Roy showcases works by Native Americans, like Michael Beasley's Lady of Lituya Bay

CONTRASTS
How to respond to formal Italian architecture? Ambassador Reginald Bartholomew turned to early American works like Portrait of a Woman, attributed to Ruth W. Shute

ROOTS
U.N. ambassador and former New Mexico Congressman Bill Richardson, a state booster, displays Three Eggs in Pink Dish by Georgia O'Keeffe, a longtime New Mexico resident

Women of the House

Recent elections in Canada, France and Britain dramatically increased the number of women legislators (to 21.3% in Canada, 10.9% in France and 18.2% in Britain). Despite the gains, women make up just 12.5% of legislatures worldwide.

A sampling of where the women are:

COUNTRY SEATS WOMEN PERCENTAGE
Sweden 349 141 40.4
South Africa 400 100 25.0
Mexico 500 71 14.2

Where the women aren't:

U.S. 435 51 11.7
Israel 120 9 7.5
Japan 500 23 4.6

Figures, provided by the Inter-Parliamentary Union in Geneva, are for single or lower legislative houses

Vox Pop

If the Paula Jones case against President Clinton is brought to trial, do you think it should be permissible for Jones' sexual history to be brought up as evidence in the case?

TOTAL MEN WOMEN
Yes 62% 66% 59%
No 32% 27% 36%
Not sure 6% 7% 5%

From a telephone poll of 1,024 adult Americans taken for TIME/CNN on June 4-5 by Yankelovich Partners Inc. Sampling error is +/- 3.1%.

Verbatim

"You know, it's a two-way street...If Paula Jones insists on having her day in court and her trial, and she really wants to put her reputation at issue as we hear, we are prepared to do it."
ROBERT BENNETT, personal lawyer for President Clinton, on NBC's Meet the Press
"It has never been our intention to go into Paula Jones' sex life."
ROBERT BENNETT, three days later on CNN's Larry King Live
"I felt a special relationship to Elvis Presley because he was from Mississippi; he was a poor white kid...he sang with a lot of soul."
BILL CLINTON, in an interview on the VH1 music-video cable channel

By Janice M. Horowitz, Nadya Labi, Emily Mitchell, Megan Rutherford And Alain L. Sanders





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