- The Washington Times - Friday, August 4, 2000

'Sadder and bloodier'

National Security Adviser Samuel R. Berger told American Jewish leaders this week that more blood may have to be spilled in the Middle East before Israelis and Palestinians are "prepared to make a deal."

Mr. Berger outraged some members of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations who interpreted his remarks as condoning violence, but others said he was only discussing the possible consequences of continued instability in the region.

"Either there will be an agreement … or there will be conflict. There is no third possibility," Mr. Berger said, according to several Jewish leaders who participated in a telephone conference call with Mr. Berger on Monday.

"I don't see any possibility of a stable status quo. If there is no agreement, we may be sadder and bloodier, but then maybe they'll be prepared to make a deal."

Morton A. Klein, president of the Zionist Organization of America, said, "Such statements by Berger in effect encourage the Arabs to engage in violence by indicating that the Clinton administration believes that although future violence would be disturbing, it may be a factor in helping facilitate an agreement."

Mr. Berger's spokesman, P.J. Crowley, dismissed Mr. Klein as someone who has a "personal vendetta" against Mr. Berger.

He insisted that Mr. Berger "in no way, shape or form" has ever condoned violence as a way to move the peace process forward.

Any such charge is "outrageous," he said.

"Mr. Berger believes [Israeli and Palestinian] leaders must find a way to reach an agreement… . Violence is not the answer," he said.

Morton Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents who organized the call with Mr. Berger, said he never interpreted Mr. Berger's comment as accepting violence as part of peace negotiations.

"He never suggested that violence is essential to move the peace process forward," Mr. Hoenlein said.

Philip Meltzer, president of ARZA-World Union, a Reform Jewish organization, said he believes Mr. Berger's remarks were taken out of context by his critics.

"It's a difference in how you interpret it," he said. "I don't think there is anything controversial about saying that if there is no agreement, there might be violence."

Two months ago in a speech at Israel's Tel Aviv University, Mr. Berger outraged many Jewish organizations by stating that violence "is both the curse and the blessing of the Israeli-Arab conflict." He added that violence "constitutes the greatest incentive for immediate action."

He later said his comments were misinterpreted and that he also condemned violence.

One Jewish leader, who asked not to be identified, expressed shock that Mr. Berger appeared to be repeating the view that violence is an incentive for peace talks.

Mr. Berger's conference call came a week after the Camp David summit where Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak offered several concessions to Mr. Arafat in order to reach a peace accord. The summit collapsed over the issue of the future of Jerusalem, which both sides claim as their capital.

Duke to Norway

President Clinton Thursday named Robin Chandler Duke as U.S. ambassador to Norway in a congressional recess appointment that requires no Senate confirmation.

Mrs. Duke is the widow of veteran diplomat Angier Biddle Duke, a member of a family that made a fortune from the American Tobacco Co. Mrs. Duke is also a former president of the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League.

She is a former reporter who wrote on women's issues for the New York Journal-American in the 1940s. Mrs. Duke later pursued a career on Wall Street with the New York brokerage firm Orvis Brothers.

She served with her late husband when he was ambassador to Spain, Denmark and Morocco and in Washington, where he was chief of protocol for presidents Kennedy and Johnson.

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