Albright Warns Netanyahu

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Come see me when you’re prepared to deal, Madeleine Albright told Benjamin Netanyahu today. And no one had greater cause to wince than Al Gore. Albright invited both the Israeli leader and Yasser Arafat to Washington next week -- but only if Netanyahu accepts a U.S. compromise proposal on Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank. “The U.S. proposal of a 13 percent withdrawal is a bottom line from which we’ve guaranteed the Palestinians we wouldn’t budge,” says TIME correspondent Douglas Waller. Arafat has come down from 30 percent; Netanyahu has dug in his heels somewhere between 9 and 11 percent. “For the first time the U.S. made very clear that the problem is Netanyahu and not Arafat, and ratcheted up the pressure on Israel,” says Waller. Bad news for Gore, who spent last week in the Middle East grandstanding for pro-Israel voters at home. Says Waller: “Peace in the Middle East now requires strong-arming an Israeli leader, and that’s a prospect no vice president hoping to become president can welcome.”