Remember last summer?
  Thursday July 13, 2000

  Anger at peace talks 'meddling'

    Political scandal in US as Bush advisers tell Israelis
    to be ready to walk out of Camp David negotiations

    Israel and the Middle East: special report
    Julian Borger in Washington

   The Middle East peace talks at Camp David became the subject of a political
   scandal in the US last night when reports emerged that one of George W Bush's
   foreign policy advisers had warned the Israeli delegation to be prepared to walk
   out of negotiations.

   Richard Perle, a veteran cold war warrior and former assistant secretary of state,
   urged the Israeli prime minister, Ehud Barak, not to agree to any settlement
   which left the future status of Jerusalem unresolved, according to the New York
   Post website.

   The website quoted a message received by Mr Barak yesterday from two of his
   emissaries, Yoram Ben-Ze'ev and Yossi Alpher. The two men said Mr Perle "asked
   us to send a clear message" to Mr Barak that it would be a "catastrophe" if the
   Jerusalem question was not dealt with, and urged him "to walk away" from the
  Camp David negotiations if faced with that  outcome.

  Mr Bush's office had no comment on the report yesterday. Mr Ben-Ze'ev, contacted
  by mobile phone, said he was in Houston, Texas - Governor Bush's home state - but
  would not explain the purpose of his visit  and also refused to comment on the
  newspaper report.

  Democrats responded angrily to what they portrayed as Republican meddling in the
 delicate negotiations currently under way at the presidential retreat at Camp David,
 Maryland, aimed at reaching a final settlement in the 52-year Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
  "While I and all Americans are hoping and praying that the critical meeting at Camp
  David will be the beginning of a new era of  peace for the Middle East, some are
  playing politics with this historic opportunity," said Sam Gejdenson, the ranking
  Democratic member of the house committee on international relations.

  Mr Gejdenson described Mr Perle's alleged intervention as "an outrage" and
  urged Mr Bush to disown his advisers'  remarks. "In matters of life and death
  there is no room for politics and ego," he said.


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