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Cheney’s ex-adviser: Annapolis not ‘priority

A top Jewish former adviser to Dick Cheney said Israeli-Palestinian peace should not be a U.S. government priority.

“Priorities for the United States right now should be three or four major crises that are reaching the near acute stage,” David Wurmser, formerly the U.S. vice president’s senior adviser on Middle East issues, said Tuesday at an Israel Project luncheon in Washington, D.C.

Wurmser cited nuclear crises in Iran and North Korea, instability in Pakistan and the radicalization of the Venezuelan government. He expressed amazement at seeing “a secretary of state almost tearing a hole in the atmosphere flying to Israel and the Palestinian territories trying to negotiate a peace treaty.”

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has engaged in intense shuttle diplomacy ahead of a U.S.-convened peace conference next week. Wurmser worried that Iran would seize on Arab cooperation with the Annapolis talks to undermine moderate Arab regimes.

Wurmser left his position with Cheney earlier this year to start a risk management group, Delphi Global Analysis. Cheney’s office often clashed with Rice over Middle East policy, particularly during Israel’s war with Hezbollah in 2006 when Rice pressed Israel to protect Lebanese civilians.

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