Views From Abroad on United States Vote

A survey of world reaction to the election of Bill Clinton reveals cautious optimism, amid concerns about trade protectionism and disruptions in US foreign policy in the Middle East and China

Israelis and Palestinians see steady US support for Israel

TO most ordinary Israelis, Bush's defeat is welcome. Angry at what they saw as undue pressure put on Israel during the Middle East peace process, callers to popular Army Radio gave Mr. Clinton 1,041 votes to just 361 for Mr. Bush in a straw poll Tuesday.

But the Arkansas governor's ostensibly more pro-Israel stance is not taken completely at face value here either. "Even if Clinton has said that he doesn't support the creation of a Palestinian state ... one can assume that he doesn't support the [Israeli] annexation of the occupied territories or Israel's continued control over them either," cautioned the liberal Haaretz in its editorial yesterday.

Palestinians are wary about the president-elect. All US leaders are seen as pro-Israel, but Palestinian fears focus on the possibility that the change in administration might mean a hiccup in peace talks. "We think there will be some kind of delay in the peace process, and this would be dangerous," says Ali al-Khalifi, editorial editor of the East Jerusalem daily Al-Fajr.

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