Hillary, pelted with tomatoes in Egypt, now in Israel
Jerusalem: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who arrived in Israel late Sunday, will discuss Egypt, Iran, and Middle East peace process with Israeli officials on Monday.
On her first trip to Israel in 22 months, Hillary will meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the country`s President, foreign minister and defense minister.
She will also sit down with Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad as well, before returning to Washington early Tuesday. The meetings in Jerusalem culminate a 12-day, nine-country trip that included stops in Europe and Asia.
The US secretary of state flew to Israel from Egypt, where she held talks with newly-elected President Mohammed Mursi and Field Marshall Hussein Tantawi, the head of the military council that took over when Hosni Mubarak was ousted.
Hillary’s visit to Egypt underscored the difficulty Washington faces in trying to wield its influence amid the country`s stormy post-Hosni Mubarak power struggles. Protesters chanting against the US — sometimes reaching several hundred — sprung up at several sites Hillary visited this weekend. On Sunday, tomatoes and shoes were thrown at Hillary`s motorcade by Egyptian protesters who shouted, "Monica, Monica, Monica" as she left the newly-reopened American Consulate in Alexandria.
The protesters threw the tomatoes, shoes and a water bottle as the staff walked to their vans after the ceremony and riot police had to hold back the crowd. A tomato hit an Egyptian official in the face.
Hillary`s van was around the corner from the protesters, and a senior State Department official said her car was not hit, CNN reported.
The chants of "Monica" refer to Monica Lewinsky, the White House intern who had an affair with Hillary`s husband, former president Bill Clinton.
In the meantime, the Israeli government has quietly agreed to grant subsidies to build more than 500 new homes in the West Bank, backtracking from a promise earlier this year to deny these incentives to the settlements, a news agency has learned.
The planned construction, at a time when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is trying to shore up support among settlers, has enraged the Palestinians and could cloud a visit starting by Hillary as she tries to re-energise moribund Mideast peace efforts.
The housing units are benefiting from the government`s designation of the settlements as "national priority" areas — a status normally reserved for low-income cities and towns where the government wants to encourage development and lure people to live.
(With Agency inputs)
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