President Shimon Peres believes there is no chance of an agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.

Peres, the one-time proponent of a "new Middle East" made this statement last Saturday at a dinner with the Jordanian and French ambassadors in Defense Minister Ehud Barak's Tel Aviv apartment.

At the end of the meal an argument erupted between the Jordanian envoy, Ali Ayed, and a well-known "dovish" attorney, who said Israel had no chance of reaching an agreement with the Palestinian Authority under Mahmoud Abbas' leadership. Barak supported his guest's hawkish stance.

At a certain point, Peres intervened, surprising the participants by joining the attorney's prediction. "It would be very hard to reach an agreement," Peres said, due to the Hamas-Fatah split.

He said Abbas had no support among his people, no power to carry out security agreements and that any agreement Israel and the PA made crumbled a day later due to the PA's weakness. Therefore there is no chance of agreement, he summed.