President Shimon Peres 521.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
President Shimon Peres may speak to whichever politicians he likes, regardless
of the impending election, Central Elections Committee chairman Justice Elyakim
Rubinstein ruled on Thursday.
Ometz: Citizens for Social and Legal
Justice filed a complaint with the election panel, because Peres met with Yesh
Atid leader Yair Lapid and Tzipi Livni, who led the efforts to create an
“obstructive bloc” and prevent Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s
According to Ometz, the meetings “can be seen as an attempt
to influence the results of the election and future coalition
The NGO asked Rubinstein to block Peres from meeting with
politicians that could bring him to a conflict of interests when it is time for
him to choose the person to form the next government.
responded that he does not have the authority to tell Peres what to do, and
added that the president has not broken any electionrelated laws.
comments published by The New York Times on Wednesday, Peres said he is sure
that his US counterpart will use military power against Iran “in the end,” if
all other efforts to stop Tehran from pursuing a nuclear weapon fail.
a series of interviews published by the Times
and conducted by journalist Ronen
Bergman in Jerusalem, the president said, “America knows how to throw a punch
when it has to.”
“They [the Americans] don’t begin by shooting. They try
all the other means first – economic sanctions, political pressure,
negotiations, everything possible. But in the end, if none of this works, then
President Obama will use military power against Iran. I am sure of it,” the
Addressing the rift that arose
between himself and Prime
Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in August of last year over the option of using
military force against Iran, Peres said, “I expressed my opinion, and that was
The president spoke out publicly against attacking Iran, to
which Netanyahu responded, saying that Peres had “forgotten what the president’s
In an apparent dig at the prime minister over ongoing
disagreements regarding the viability of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud
Abbas as a “partner for peace,”
Peres said that if the “people of Israel heard
from the leadership that there is a chance for peace, they would take up the
gauntlet and believe it.”
“He [Netanyahu] may do nothing, but that
doesn’t mean that things won’t be done. This idea, that history is a horse that
can be held by the tail, is a foolish idea. After all, the fire can be lit in an
instant: another word, another shot and in the end everyone will lose
If there is no diplomatic decision, the Palestinians will go
back to terror,” the president continued.
On the future of peace talks,
the president told Bergman that, like the Oslo process, any future negotiations
have to be secret.
“Abu Mazen [Abbas] and I met for long talks, with
Netanyahu’s knowledge, and even reached more than a few agreements. To my
regret, in the end there was always some rupture, and I do not want to go into
the reasons for that now. This is not a simple negotiation – but I thought the
conditions exist to set out on the path.”
In spite of Western accusations
that settlements are an obstruction to the two-state solution
, Peres defended
continued building, saying that “the settlers have not eliminated the chance for
the establishment of a Palestinian state.”
In a hopeful conclusion to the
interviews, the president added that if he has another 10 years to live, he is
sure he will see peace.
“I am sure that I will have the privilege of
seeing peace come even to this dismal and wonderful and amazing part of the
world,” Peres said.
Meretz leader Zehava Gal-On praised Peres, saying
that a president must warn of impending dangers.
fulfilled his duty as president after evaluating Israel’s diplomatic situation
and warning of upcoming danger,” Gal-On stated.
“The Likud Beytenu list
and Netanyahu’s bad record prove that if they win the election, the diplomatic
freeze will continue, and centrist parties joining the coalition will not change
Likud Beytenu declined to comment on Peres’s statements.