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Monday, December 31, 2012

Likud calls Peres remarks about Abu Mazen 'regrettable'

The problem with making Shimon Peres President from the start was that the President of this country is meant to have an above the fray, non-political position, and Peres' nature was never such. In fact, the only President we have had who was even in the same ballpark as Peres in terms of politicizing the office was Ezer Weizmann. Now, with Peres nearing the end of his term, and realizing that there will be little he can do about the 'peace process' once that term is over, Peres' frustration is pouring out. That's what you saw in the al-Jazeera interview I posted on Sunday.

But Peres continues to live in his dreamworld, insisting that 'moderate' 'Palestinian' President Mahmoud Abbas Abu Mazen is a 'partner for peace.' On Sunday, after Peres repeated his claim that Abu Mazen is a 'partner for peace' to 160 foreign diplomats, the Likud reacted, releasing what I am sure is pent-up frustration over the feeling over the last four years that they cannot fight the angelic Shimon Peres.
Likud said in a statement it is "regrettable that the president chooses to express a political opinion that is detached from the Israeli public's position regarding Abbas, who refuses to make peace."
They continued to say it is "even more regrettable that the President chooses to present [these opinions] in front of foreign diplomats, a political stand that encourages condemnation for Israel in the international community," adding that the prime minister has consistently called on Abbas to return to the table, but that Abbas has failed to even condemn the firing of rockets on Israeli citizens by Hamas.
"It is a shame the president did not explain to the foreign diplomats how his comments on Abbas reconcile with the fact [Abbas] did not even condemn the firing of rockets on Israeli citizens," the statement said.
The response follows remarks by Peres on Sunday in his address to some 160 diplomats. Peres said he differed from the view of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu who repeatedly says there is no partner on the other side, and said that he has known Abu Mazen (Mahmoud Abbas) for thirty years and is convinced that he is the only Arab leader with whom Israel can conclude an agreement.
Peres acknowledged that not everything that Abbas says and does is beyond reproach, but the fact is Peres underscored, that Abbas is the only Arab leader who has come out openly and said that he wants peace and is opposed to terrorism. Moreover, Peres continued, Abbas has shown commendable courage in preventing terror – even at the risk of his life.
Peres invited the ambassadors to place themselves in Abbas's position, and asked whether they too would be prepared to forfeit the return to their birthplaces. Abbas, who was born in Safed, has stated that he will not return there, Peres pointed out.
Israelis are interested in peace, said Peres, but not all are convinced that it is attainable.
Peres emphasized that if Israel wants to have any influence in the Middle East, it must complete a peace agreement with the Palestinians without delay. A bi-national state, he warned, endangers the Zionist enterprise as well as the Jewish and democratic character of the State of Israel.
Reviewing the turmoil and transition throughout much of the region, Peres said that it was impossible for Israel to influence the Arab world in which nearly every country is engaged in some kind of struggle "which has nothing to do with us".
Peres attributed the changing tide of the Middle East to being part of a global revolution in which what occurs in the city square is more important than what happens in the seat of government.
Read the whole thing.

I suspect we're going to see a lot more of Shimon Peres in this election cycle - more than we have ever seen from an Israeli President. I suspect he will endorse either Labor or the Tzipi Livni party. But don't worry. Peres never won a popular election in this country. Called an underminer by former bosses Moshe Sharett and Yitzchak Rabin, Peres may be one of the least popular politicians Israel has ever had, even if he is still viewed by many as untainted by corruption.

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At 3:28 PM, Blogger Mordechai Y. Scher said...

Actually, Peres is above politics. Over his career he has equally betrayed and stabbed in the back colleagues on the Left and colleagues on the Right. He has broken the law and consorted with Israel's enemies, because he knows better and is above the law written for commoners. The archetype patrician/paternal politician. Shimon Peres is only concerned with the opinion of Shimon Peres. It has always been that way. I can't for the life of me understand why the public has allowed him to remain in the public arena.


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