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Breaking News

Ramallah Mob Kills Two Israeli Soldiers

Aired October 12, 2000 - 1:45 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: And we are going to talk now with former Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres. He's in London. He met today with the prime minister there in London, Tony Blair.

Thank you for being with us, sir, at this time.

SHIMON PERES, FORMER PRIME MINISTER OF ISRAEL: Thank you.

ALLEN: Tell us of your meeting with Mr. Blair and your reaction to the developments today and the heightened violence in the region, the Middle East.

PERES: I think that Mr. Blair is concerned as we are and he understands completely the dilemma before a democratic government like the Israeli government. Mr. Blair -- and so do we feel -- thinks that Mr. Clinton has to renew his offer to have a mid-Mediterranean, a Middle Eastern conference with the Palestinian participation, the Israeli participation, some other countries in the Middle East, in order to bring an immediate stop to the violence.

I don't understand why didn't President Mubarak respond positively to the offer of President Clinton; why didn't the Chairman Arafat do it? There is nobody like Mr. Clinton who has invested so much good will and understanding, not only to all of Israel, but also to the Palestinians and the Egyptians.

Instead, they are waiting for the Arab summit meeting, which will take place only on the 21st of this month, which means another seven or eight days with demagogic speeches, with threats, with hardening positions, without decisions.

We in Israel do not start to understand why did Mr. Arafat renew the Intifadah. Prime Minister Barak went to Camp David with an extremely generous proposal. We didn't do anything that will justify to throw a single stone. And we are afraid -- we are afraid that Mr. Arafat again may miss opportunity like in 1996 after the assassination of Mr. Rabin, and I have replaced him.

And all of a sudden, after (inaudible), there were terrible acts of terror in Jerusalem, in Tel Aviv, that brought a loss of directions. Another government was elected; three years were wasted. He may miss again the opportunity for no reason, without justification, without explanation. And an end must be brought to it, for the sake of peace and for the sake of the Palestinian people that a man like me has a great deal of empathy for them.

ALLEN: That said, sir, can Israel still talk, still deal with Yasser Arafat at this point?

PERES: It became very difficult, but Arafat and the Palestinians are our neighbor. You cannot fire a neighbor. We want to live in peace with them. And we regret very much this renewal of acts of terror. We cannot understand...

ALLEN: Mr. Peres, I apologize. We have to interrupt. The president of the United States is about to speak on this topic.

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