Just days after Mahmoud Abbas announced he would not seek a second term as president, Shimon Peres said Israel and the US had "upset" his Palestinian counterpart.
"Everyone upset Abbas, including Israel and the Americans. That is why he is angry. We must resume negotiations immediately, to keep us in the picture," Peres told Ynet Saturday night during a ceremony in Tel Aviv marking the 14th anniversary of prime minister Yitzhak Rabin's assassination.
According to Peres, Abbas' decision was affected by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's claim that a total freeze of all Jewish construction in the West Bank was not a prerequisite for the resumption of the peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. The president said Abbas may reverse his decision should negotiations be renewed.
"It seems as though everyone unjustifiably 'pelted Abbas with stones'," the Israeli president added, "Now we must find a way to resolve this crisis."
Asked by Ynet whether he thought the memory of Rabin has faded, Peres said, "I don't think it has faded or become less relevant. Rabin stands for a message, a message of peace. Every negotiation has its ups and downs, and when there is a crisis everyone thinks it’s the end of the world – it's not the end of the world.
"The only way to get past the current crisis is by relaunching the (peace) talks," the president said.
During his speech at Rabin Square, Peres called on Abbas to continue efforts for peace.
"We both signed the Oslo Accord, and I am turning to you now as a colleague: Don't give up!" the Israeli president said.
"I know you have worked for your people for 50 years, work that was accompanied by much disappointment and frustration. But I know my people, and I know the Israeli government, and I am telling you that Israel wants true peace, not simulated peace."