Photo Credit: Flash 90
Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, and Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas, shake hands in Jerusalem.

Israeli President Shimon Peres says that the Arab Peace Initiative constitutes a meaningful change and a strategic opportunity.

In his speech at the World Economic Forum in Jordan, Peres turned to the president of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, who is also participating in the conference, and told him that he is Israel’s partner in the peace process.

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“We should not permit the hurdles to overcome us. History will judge us not by the process of negotiations, but by its outcome. The today obstacles will pale in the light of peace,” Peres said Abbas.

Peres stressed that he is convinced that the gaps that prevent the resumption of negotiations can be bridged and noted that the parties agree on how to finish: two states living side by side in peace, dignity and freedom – the state of the Jewish people, Israel and an Arab state of Palestine.

Peres earlier said that Israel and the Palestinians should not miss the opportunity created for peace, and work to overcome doubts. He said that the time for peace is now, and if this chance is missed, it could be replaced by a great disappointment. Peres said that he is aware of the difficulties but still thinks that you can establish an agreement with the Palestinians based on the two state principle.

A Jordanian journalist asked Peres if he is speaking on behalf of the Government of Israel and Peres replied, “I am an Israeli, and it just so happens that I’m also president of the State of Israel.”

But back home, few in government were amused. Minister Yuval Steinitz said the government is in charge of making policy decisions, and that any statement, especially on the eve of entering this kind of negotiations is not useful to Israel’s positions.

But the tone of Steinitz’s voice was a lot less restrained.

In response, Peres told reporters that he had spent two hours coordinating his message to the forum with Prime Minister Netanyahu, and that if Steinitz had a problem with it, then he had a problem with it.

Jewish Home chairman, Minister Naftali Bennett, said that he respects and appreciates the president, but it so happens that the great majority of Israelis strongly opposes withdrawal to the ’67 lines, because they understand that this would bring Hamas terror to the cities of central Israel.

“The Israeli public has experienced the results of the Oslo Accords and the thousands who were killed, and they have the good sense to know that the path to achieving peace and security is through strength and not through weakness and retreats,” Minister Bennett said.

Minister Uzi Landau of Yisrael Beiteinu quoted the late Foreign Minister Abba Eban, who said that the Israel’s 1967 borders were ‘Auschwitz borders.’ Before Sunday’s cabinet meeting, Landau said that Israel cannot give up its ability to defend itself, it must remain realistic and not build on pipe dreams.

Finally, Jewish Home Minister Uri Ariel commented that President Peres’s speech had no connection to the reality in Judea and Samaria—where some 400,000 Jews live in towns and villages, and another 300,000 in the neighborhoods of annexed East Jerusalem.

In an interview on Reshet Bet, Minister Ariel said that the president is allowed to express his opinion: “Everyone is allowed to dream and to say what he thinks.”

Ariel reminded listeners that Jews pray for peace three times a day and will continue to do so, but in the real world, when the Prime Minister Ehud Olmert wanted to give the Palestinians everything, Abbas fled the discussion..

Welcome to Israel, where internal clashes between left wing presidents and right wing governments are par for the course, where we have a special name for such clashes: Monday.

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7 COMMENTS

  1. Peres was never elected PM.
    This guy is radical and will sell out Israel.
    Peres opposed bombing Iraq's nuclear facility in 81.
    Peres opposed Israel going into Jenin in 2002 after Palestinian homicide bombers from Jenin were slaughtering Israeli civilians, including the Passover massacre.
    Peres opposed going into Jenin cause he was more concerned about his legacy and appeasing Arafat who was behind the atrocities of Israeli civilians.
    Peres opposed killing Yassin in 2004.
    Peres wants to divide Jerusalem and give away the Jewish Golan.
    This is why we need Chaim Ben Pesach to stand up to these Kapos's like Peres.
    Peres go leave like Barak did. Israel will be so much better off.

  2. Peres who ws the main person behind the Oslo Accords that resulted in the Terror war with thousands of Israelis getting murdered and maimed by PLO terrorists. Now Peres supports Kerry's Surrender Initiative to decapitate and dismember Israel. How convenient.

  3. Its very important to remember how Peres opposed Israel going into Jenin in 2002, when Israel went into there to stop the Arab Nazi Homicide bombers from slaughtering more Israeli civilians.
    Peres is a total opportunist. Back then even with Arafat ordering terrorist atrocities against Israeli civilians, Peres still kept appeasing Arafat.
    Peres was obsessed with his legacy of Oslo and didn't care how many Jews were slaughtered by Arab terrorists because of Oslo.

    Then when Israel went to defeat the Fatah Terrorists Peres gave a base to with Oslo, Peres showed his true appeasement style.
    Read this article from 2002, which shows how Peres lied cause he was obsessed with appeasing Arafat and Oslo.

    Remember, In 2002 the IDF, once and for all, broke down the terrorist infrastructure in Jenin and either killed the top Arab terrorists and threw the other thugs in jail.

    http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/663308/posts
    Peres calls IDF operation in Jenin a 'massacre'.
    Ha'aretz ^ | 9 April 2002 | Aluf Benn and Amos Harel.
    4/10/2002

    Foreign Minister Shimon Peres Peres is very worried about the expected international reaction as soon as the world learns the details of the tough battle in the Jenin refugee camps, where more than 100 Palestinians have already been killed in fighting with IDF forces. In private, Peres is referring to the battle as a "massacre."

    IDF officers also expressed grave reservations Monday over the operation in Jenin. "Because of the dangers," they said, "the soldiers are almost not advancing on foot. The bulldozers are simply 'shaving' the homes and causing terrible destruction. When the world sees the pictures of what we have done there, it will do us immense damage."

    "However many wanted men we kill in the refugee camp, and however much of the terror infrastructure we expose and destroy there, there is still no justification for causing such great destruction."

    Peres, who is feeling increasingly isolated in the government – Sharon added three hardline ministers to his cabinet Monday – believes Arafat is still irreplaceable at this stage.

    He does not regard the documents that Sharon presented Monday in the Knesset as a "smoking gun" that irrefutably proves that Arafat was directly linked to ordering terrorist activity. And Israel's isolation of the Palestinian leader, he believes, only enhanced his prestige and turned him into the key player.

    Despite his harsh criticism, however, and his belief that Labor will not be able to remain much longer in the government, Peres is in no hurry to quit. He is telling his closest associates that after the fighting ends and U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell has visited, the decision will be made. If Powell presents a political plan, Labor will want to fight for it in the government.

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