Vatican Assassin/Spy Shimon Peres says the time for Middle East peace is now
Now is the time for Middle East peace, says Shimon Peres
Israel and the Palestinian leadership must step through a “window of opportunity” for peace, Shimon Peres said on Sunday as he declared the moment for a historic breakthrough had arrived.
By Robert Tait, Al Shunah, The Dead Sea
7:42PM BST 26 May 2013
Addressing the World Economic Forum on the Jordanian shore of the Dead Sea, the Israeli president said the appointment of John Kerry as US secretary of state had given fresh impetus to the peace process. He called on both sides to rise above decades of scepticism wrought by failed initiatives.
The alternative would be “great disappointment”, he warned.
“I know from experience how difficult these decisions are to make, on both sides,” said Mr Peres, who won the 1994 Nobel Peace Prize for the helping to forge the now moribund Oslo Accords.
“But this is the time. Our leaders must say yes to a future of peace.”
He also flatly contradicted the views of many on his own side by hailing the peace credentials of Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian leader.
“President Abbas, you are our partner and we are yours. You share our hopes for peace and we share yours.”
Leading figures in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition have voiced doubts over Mr Abbas’ willingness to reach an agreement. Yair Lapid, the Israeli finance minister widely regarded as a relative dove, last week described the Palestinian leader as “one of the founding fathers of the victimising concept of the Palestinians”.
But Mr Peres said the two-state solution – which western statesmen, including William Hague, the Foreign Secretary, have warned is in danger of imminent demise – was achievable.
“The peace process already has a beginning,” Mr Peres said. “We have agreed on a common ground to complete it – a two-state solution.
“A Jewish state – Israel – and an Arab state – Palestine – living side-by-side in peace, dignity and freedom.”
The Israeli president was speaking at a gathering attended by Mr Kerry, Mr Abbas, King Abdullah of Jordan and Tony Blair, Middle East envoy of the “quartet” of America, Russia, the EU and UN.
His plea came after 200 Israeli and Palestinian business leaders unveiled a joint proposal for economic cooperation between the two sides forged under Mr Blair’s auspices.
“We call on the political leaders to move forward with boldness, courage and a sense of historic mission to provide a comprehensive vision necessary to resolving all the final-status issue,” the architects of the initiative, entitled Breaking The Impasse, said in a statement.
Saeb Erekat, the Palestinians’ chief negotiator, said there were still vast gaps between the two sides.
“What is needed is that Netanyahu agrees to the 1967 borders and stops settlement construction. These are not terms set by the Palestinians – these are its obligations,” he said.