Peres Praises Abbas' 'Courageous' Concession

Elder Statesman Calls Palestinian a Partner for Peace

By Reuters

Published November 04, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Israeli President Shimon Peres hailed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas as a courageous partner for peace on Saturday after the Palestinian leader made clear his support for a two-state solution to the decades old conflict with Israel.

In an interview with Israeli television broadcast this week, the Western-backed Abbas also hinted that Palestinians who, prior to the 1948 establishment of the Jewish state lived on lands that are now in Israel, do not have a right to return there, comments that sparked an outcry from his Islamist rivals.

“(Abbas’s) courageous words prove that Israel has a real partner for peace,” Peres said in a statement. “These are significant words … We must all treat them with the utmost respect.”

Peres, a Nobel peace prize laureate, holds a post that is largely ceremonial and he has little influence on the policies of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing government. As prime minister more than a decade ago, Peres headed a left-wing government that actively pursued peace with the Palestinians.

Netanyahu has repeatedly portrayed Abbas as a peace partner, urging him to return to negotiations, despite Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s description of the Palestinian president as an obstacle to peace.

There have been no direct peace talks since 2010, when the Palestinians refused to resume negotiations unless Israel suspended settlement building in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, which they say is killing off all chances of them ever creating a coherent state.

Abbas has defied Israel and the United States by planning to ask the U.N. General Assembly to upgrade the Palestinians to a non-member state. Facing possible punitive Israeli and U.S. sanctions, Abbas has promised an immediate return to peace talks after the U.N. vote, which the Palestinians are likely to win.

The Islamist group Hamas, which wrested control of the Gaza Strip from Abbas in 2007, condemned the comments and thousands of its members rallied in protest and burned posters of Abbas.

“No one, regardless of who he may be … has the right to cede a single tract of the land of Palestine or to cede the right of return,” Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh told reporters.

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a faction historically allied with Abbas, even called on the president to be questioned by his own Palestine Liberation Organisation.

Abbas spokesman Nabil Abu Rdainah said issues like the right of return of Palestinian refugees and the borders of a future state must be resolved in negotiations with Israel. He accused rival groups, without singling any of them out, of exploiting the president’s comments to “carry out a coup” against him.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • How about a side of Hitler with your spaghetti?
  • Why "Be fruitful and multiply" isn't as simple as it seems:
  • William Schabas may be the least of Israel's problems.
  • You've heard of the #IceBucketChallenge, but Forward publisher Sam Norich has something better: a #SoupBucketChallenge (complete with matzo balls!) Jon Stewart, Sarah Silverman & David Remnick, you have 24 hours!
  • Did Hamas just take credit for kidnapping the three Israeli teens?
  • "We know what it means to be in the headlines. We know what it feels like when the world sits idly by and watches the news from the luxury of their living room couches. We know the pain of silence. We know the agony of inaction."
  • When YA romance becomes "Hasidsploitation":
  • "I am wrapping up the summer with a beach vacation with my non-Jewish in-laws. They’re good people and real leftists who try to live the values they preach. This was a quality I admired, until the latest war in Gaza. Now they are adamant that American Jews need to take more responsibility for the deaths in Gaza. They are educated people who understand the political complexity, but I don’t think they get the emotional complexity of being an American Jew who is capable of criticizing Israel but still feels a deep connection to it. How can I get this across to them?"
  • “'I made a new friend,' my son told his grandfather later that day. 'I don’t know her name, but she was very nice. We met on the bus.' Welcome to Israel."
  • A Jewish female sword swallower. It's as cool as it sounds (and looks)!
  • Why did David Menachem Gordon join the IDF? In his own words: "The Israel Defense Forces is an army that fights for her nation’s survival and the absence of its warriors equals destruction from numerous regional foes. America is not quite under the threat of total annihilation… Simply put, I felt I was needed more in Israel than in the United States."
  • Leonard Fein's most enduring legacy may be his rejection of dualism: the idea that Jews must choose between assertiveness and compassion, between tribalism and universalism. Steven M. Cohen remembers a great Jewish progressive:
  • BREAKING: Missing lone soldier David Menachem Gordon has been found dead in central Israel. The Ohio native was 21 years old.
  • “They think they can slap on an Amish hat and a long black robe, and they’ve created a Hasid." What do you think of Hollywood's portrayal of Hasidic Jews?
  • “I’ve been doing this since I was a teenager. I didn’t think I would have to do it when I was 90.” Hedy Epstein fled Nazi Germany in 1933 on a Kinderstransport.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.