Time: Israel ‘bluffed’ vs. US

Time Magazine claims to have a scoop on the recent Israeli/US negotiations:

[Sharon] threatened to cancel his trip to Washington if Bush’s statement didn’t explicitly support his stand on the refugee issue. Late on April 11, his top negotiator, Dov Weissglass, called Secretary of State Colin Powell and said negotiations had reached an impasse. Weissglass said Sharon, due to leave for Washington within hours, would cancel his trip if the matter wasn’t resolved. “I can’t solve the language right now,” Powell told Weissglass, according to a top aide, “but I give you my word … we’ll work something out.” What Powell apparently didn’t know was that the Israeli team was bluffing: the original, vague language on refugees was all Sharon really needed for political cover. “That would have been enough,” says a senior Likud Cabinet member.

Did this proof of ‘bluffing’ come from the unnamed ‘senior Likud Cabinet member’? That’s left deliberately unclear. In any case, it’s quite an accusation to make without providing a source.

Comments to: letters@time.com

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