Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu leveled thinly veiled criticism at President Shimon Peres on Tuesday, saying that he will not be pressured to make concessions in the peace process with the Palestinians.
"Unlike those urging me to run ahead, capitulate, retreat, I think that the peace process requires us to act responsibly instead of hastily," Netanyahu said at his official residence, where he inaugurated a bible study group.
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Netanyahu's remarks came two days after Peres stressed the urgency of reaching a peace agreement that would stipulate the foundation of a Palestinian state.
"There is a clear majority for the principle of two-states for two peoples," the president told a conference of 160 ambassadors on Sunday. He further branded Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas as "the only Arab leader to publically stand up and say that he is for peace and against terror."
Taking stock of the political tumult that has been plaguing the countries surrounding Israel, Netanyahu asserted Tuesday that a peace agreement won't stop Hamas from rising to power in the Palestinian Authority.
"Egypt has undergone a regime change and the regime in Syria has become unstable," he said. "The same could happen in the Palestinian Authority's territories in Judea and Samaria.
"Any intelligent person knows that Hamas can take over the Palestinian Authority," he added. "This could happen even if an agreement is reached, the same way it happened in Gaza."
And if this happens, Netanyahu warned, "a third Iranian terror base will arise in the heart of the country."
"Peace can only be achieved when security is ensured," he said.
Yuval Karni is a Ynet and Yedioth Ahronoth correspondent
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