With rumors floating around that Shimon Peres might
soon pursue an elected office, a statement made by the president on Saturday sounded clearly political.
Responding to remarks made by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on
Thursday, Peres said that the PA's leader "proves with his words and his actions that Israel
has a true partner for peace."
"Israel is a peace-seeking country and as such we must extend a brave hand in peace to a leader like Abu Mazen (Abbas). The brave opinions that he has voiced (indicate) a real hope for peace."
Speaking about the borders of a future Palestinian state, Abbas told Channel 2 on Thursday that the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem are Palestine – and the rest is Israel. He added that while he would like to see his birthplace – Safed, a city in northern Israel – he does not want to live there.
Mahmoud Abbas (Photo: Reuters)
Abbas further asserted that as long as he's president, would ensure there would "never" be a third intifada.
"Abbas is rejecting terror," Peres said in a statement. "He knows very well that the solution to the Palestinian refugee problem won't be found within Israel and won't compromise Israel's character."
Prime Minister in Gaza Ismail Haniyeh
blasted the Palestinian president for the comments he gave to the Israeli media, alleging that they contradict longtime Palestinian territorial demands. Haniyeh said Friday that Abbas' remarks were "extremely dangerous."
But Peres said that Abbas' remarks should be taken seriously, as they are in line with the stance of the Israeli government and the majority of it public, "who supports a two state solution."