Israel turned down an offer by Jimmy Carter and Kofi Annan to mediate a cease-fire with Hamas.
The former U.S. president and former U.N. secretary-general belong to The Elders, an international conflict-resolution group established last year by British tycoon Richard Branson.
Several weeks ago, the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem received a proposal that Carter and Annan come to Israel along with two other Elders, South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu and former Irish President Mary Robinson, to pursue a truce with Hamas and promote peacemaking with the Palestinian Authority.
After much deliberation, the offer was politely refused, Yediot Achronot reported Wednesday.
“Israel believes that at this time, it would not be right to introduce more players into a diplomatic process that is already in a complex stage,” the newspaper quoted the Foreign Ministry as saying in a letter to The Elders.
Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Dan Gillerman, had a blunter rebuff.
“Nothing good could come out of this initiative,” he told Yediot. “Most members of the group, especially Desmond Tutu and Jimmy Carter, are people who nurse prejudices and have been shown to be hostile to Israel.”