Beilin: Failure of peace conference would be the 'end of the world'

September 24, 2007 18:57

Meretz Chairman Yossi Beilin warned Monday that failure of the US-sponsored Middle East peace conference set tentatively for November would be "the end of the world," igniting another round of violence. Beilin told The Associated Press that he discussed the peace conference with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Monday, and he called Olmert's efforts to lower expectations from the gathering "pathetic." Beilin said he told Olmert, "If you fail, it's the end of the world right now. We know it already. You can't fail. The responsibility you have on your shoulders now to succeed in two months from now is very, very, very big. And this is why you cannot afford it to work in an amateurish way." Beilin warned that a vague statement at the end of the conference would be disastrous, propping up the Islamic militant group Hamas and undermining moderates like Abbas. If that happens, he said, the results would be "that Hamas will be stronger, that violence will erupt, that hopes will not be there any more, and again, the feeling that we are unable to solve this conflict will re-emerge on the Palestinian side and the Israeli side, that both of us will say, 'no chance."'

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