Israel Eavesdropped on President Clinton’s Diplomatic Phone Calls

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Israeli intelligence eavesdropped on phone calls between President Bill Clinton and Syria’s late strongman Hafez al-Assad during sensitive Middle East peace negotiations 15 years ago, a forthcoming book says, citing verbatim transcripts of the calls.

Israeli intelligence also listened in as Syria’s foreign minister in New York called Assad in Damascus to report on his private conversations with American officials during the delicate 1999 talks, according to Ahron Bregman, author of Cursed Victory: A History of Israel and the Occupied Territories, scheduled for publication in the U.K. next week.

Bregman, a British-Israeli political scientist and author of several books about the Jewish state and the Arabs, cites unnamed “private sources” who provided him transcripts of the telephone calls, and of confidential conversations in 1999 between Clinton and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak. Bregman also obtained a copy of a letter from Clinton’s Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, to Barak’s predecessor as prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, marked “SECRET,” promising that the U.S. would check with Israel first before offering peace proposals to the Arabs. “Recognizing the desirability of avoiding putting forward proposals that Israel would consider unsatisfactory,” Albright wrote Netanyahu on Nov. 24, 1998, “the U.S. will conduct a thorough consultation process with Israel in advance with respect to any ideas the U.S. may wish to offer to the parties for their consideration. This would be particularly true,” Albright wrote, “with respect to security issues or territorial issues related to security…”

Albright, who was traveling in Brazil this week, declined to comment, according to an..

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