President Shimon Peres during a meeting in Toronto 370.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The gap between the Israelis and the Palestinians is "very narrow"
President Shimon Peres told interviewer David Frum during his five-day State visit to Canada.
Canadian newspaper The National Post
quoted Peres as saying that the Palestinians had achieved "an economic
peace" and that there has not been violence between the Israelis and the
Palestinians for three years. The president delivered these remarks in a
live interview before a crowd at Toronto's Sony Center for Performing
Arts, at an event sponsored by the United Jewish Appeal Federation of
According to the Post
Peres recognized remaining economic and ideological divisions between
Arab Israelis and Jewish Israelis, and referring to the former,
commented that Arabs "won't become Zionist, and I wont ask them to
Highlighting an area of "total equality," the
president spoke of hospitals in Israel. "I don't know why when people
become healthy again they forget how to live together," he remarked.
Iran, Peres placed hope in international sanctions: "The fact that Iran
is ready to enter negotiations shows [sanctions] are having an
impact," he said, according to the Post
. He expressed a preference for using diplomatic methods over resorting to military means.
to Syria, Peres reiterated the view that President Bashar Assad's days are numbered.
"He's killed his own children ... he won't be forgiven," Toronto news
website thestar.com cited him as saying.
In discussing the
situation in the Middle East in relation to the Arab Spring, the
president recalled a conversation he has had with his US counterpart.
“[US President Barack] Obama asked me 'who is against democracy in the
Middle East?'" said Peres. “I told him ‘the husbands.’”