Foreign Minister Shimon Peres is expected to decide tomorrow, when he returns from Spain, whether to take steps against UN Middle East envoy Terje Larsen for comments he made slamming the IDF’s operation in Jenin.

Foreign Ministry legal adviser Alan Baker yesterday presented Peres with four options regarding Larsen: calling him in for a reprimand, writing a letter of censure to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, declaring him persona non grata, or taking no action at all.

Baker said he made no recommendation to Peres on what action to take.

Peres made it clear on Sunday, following harsh criticism of Larsen in the cabinet meeting, that he does not think the UN envoy should be expelled from the country.

Following Peres’s defense of Larsen, the weekend newspaper Makor Rishon announced it will publish in its upcoming issue an investigative report exposing that in 1999 the Peres Center for Peace presented Larsen and his wife Mona Juul, the Norwegian ambassador to Israel, with a gift of $100,000 in cash.

According to the report, authored by David Bedein, in 1999 the Peres Center, in an unprecedented move, gave Larsen and Juul checks for $50,000 each. Center director Ron Pundak, who together with Peres and Larsen was one of the architects of the Oslo process, confirmed the Makor Rishon report.

Meanwhile, Larsen said he stood by his comments.

Jerusalem Post, April 23, 2002

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