President Shimon Peres has joined the chorus of Israeli critics who have come out strongly against the new European Union guidelines that nix funding to Israeli projects beyond the 1967 borders.
In a live statement to the media on Thursday, Peres, while expressing the deepest respect for the EU, was sharply critical of its timing in taking the resolution and making it public. The president urged the EU to "give peace a priority and give peace a chance."
Noting that United States Secretary of State John Kerry has made "real progress" during his current visit to the region and that chances for understanding between Israel and the Palestinians have been heightened, Peres was cautiously optimistic that "the supreme efforts that Secretary Kerry has made will bear fruit on both sides." The publication of the resolution "was unnecessary and untimely," according to Peres, especially in light of the possibility that the two sides might reach an agreement.
The timing of the move "may create another crisis" he warned.
Peres urged the EU to wait a little longer with its decision so as to give the two sides an opportunity to reopen negotiations for peace. "Maybe you'll change your mind," he said while appealing to the EU via the media.
Peres underscored that Kerry's efforts had been endorsed by the Arab League and that the situation is very fragile and crucial.
The latest intervention by the EU, he said, could spoil Kerry's chances of success.
"Nothing will happen if you wait a few months," he told the EU. "This is a critical period. Don't spoil it."