Peres: Current Palestinian leadership is best we could have

President tells diplomats gathered for Rosh Hashana toast that Israel, Palestinians should return to direct negotiations, praises opportunities created by Quartet initiative.

Shimon Peres 311 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
Shimon Peres 311
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
President Shimon Peres on Monday told foreign diplomats in Jerusalem for a Rosh Hashana toast that he felt "compelled to tell them that the current Palestinian leadership is the best we could have gotten."
Peres went on to urge Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and the Israeli government to return to the negotiating table
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On Sunday, Peres had praised the opportunity created by a new Quartet initiative presented late last week.

The president also had some criticism for both Israeli and Palestinian leaders, saying that both Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Abbas had turned to their own supporters in their respective speeches to the UN General Assembly on Friday, but that no effort was made to lessen the gaps between the positions of the two sides.

"We would want a situation in which the political distance between Jerusalem and Ramallah was not greater than the geographical distance between them," he stated.

Neither Israel nor the Palestinians have officially responded to the Quartet initiative to get the two sides back to negotiations, both saying they need to study the report.