Clinton vows $100 million in fight against terrorism targeting Israel

JERUSALEM — President Clinton has pledged $100 million dollars to combat terrorism in the Middle East and to strengthen security ties with Israel.

Clinton made the pledge Thursday of last week alongside Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres during his stopover in Israel after the anti-terrorism summit.

"The forces supporting peace and security are stronger than those that pursue destruction," Clinton said. "We must prove that. Whatever effort it takes, whatever time it takes, we must say to them, `You will be tracked down. You will be rooted out.'"

The counterterrorism package is to include bomb detection scanners, robotics for handling suspicious objects and other high-tech gear, U.S. officials said.

Congress was expected to approve $50 million of the package this week as part of the stopgap spending bill to prevent a partial government shutdown.

During his 22-hour visit to Israel after the international anti-terrorism summit in Egypt on Wednesday of last week, Clinton expressed sympathy with the victims of the recent wave of Islamic fundamentalist terror in Israel.

At the summit, international and regional leaders agreed to fight terror. A working group of foreign ministers is to meet in two weeks to discuss common issues.

CIA director John Deutch was still working on the final details of a counterterrorism accord, which could result in increased cooperation between U.S. and Israeli intelligence operations in pursuing terrorists, officials said privately.

The administration is also working with Israel on a defense agreement, which would provide for closer military ties between the nations. The United States hopes to conclude the pact before Peres comes to Washington, D.C., in April.

Clinton said he doubted the anti-terrorism summit would reach the hearts of those who "strap explosives to their bodies and blow themselves up, killing themselves and innocent victims" to persuade them to do otherwise.

But he said the participants at the summit could work together to minimize the risk of terror by preventing money and materials from reaching the terrorists.

Both Clinton and Peres said they were disappointed by Syria's refusal to attend the summit, but said it should not undermine the peace talks.

The president also met with Jerusalem Mayor Ehud Olmert and Likud opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu.

After his meeting with Netanyahu, Clinton made an unscheduled stop at Beit Hinuch high school, which lost four former students in the two Jerusalem attacks.

From Beit Hinuch, the president went to the Mount Herzl military cemetery, where he was joined by members of the Rabin family at Yitzhak Rabin's graveside.

Standing beside Rabin's widow, Leah Rabin, Clinton placed a stone from the South Lawn of the White House at the gravesite.

In Tel Aviv later, Clinton addressed Israeli Jewish and Arab youths from across the country and appealed to them to do what they could to further peace.