Sunday, March 13, 2016

the last book I ever read (Dan Ephron's Killing a King, excerpt one)

from Killing a King: The Assassination of Yitzhak Rabin and the Remaking of Israel by Dan Ephron:

To head off any awkwardness between Arafat and Rabin, Indyk solicited the help of Bandar bin Sultan, a Saudi prince who had been serving as ambassador to the United States for a decade. An influential figure in Washington, Bandar had cultivated close ties with American elites, including members of the Bush family. He also had connections to most Arab leaders and knew Arafat personally. Indyk asked Bandar to brief Arafat about both the “no kissing rule,” as people in the White House were now calling it, and the matter of his attire. While Arafat was still en route to Washington, Bandar ordered several suits delivered to his hotel room.

With three hours left before the ceremony, the two issues—tiny representations of the sensitivities Israelis and Palestinians would have to overcome—were now occupying the president and his staff. At a meeting in the Oval Office, Clinton’s national security adviser, Anthony Lake, said he knew a way to thwart the traditional Arab embrace. It involved extending the right arm for a handshake while simultaneously planting the left hand firmly on the approaching person’s forearm. Done right, the maneuver would prevent the person from leaning in for a kiss. Clinton practiced it several times with his national security adviser, at one point raising his knee toward Lake’s groin to demonstrate his backup plan. If he could keep Arafat from kissing him onstage, Clinton thought, the old guerilla leader would not try to kiss Rabin.

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