Shimon Peres 311.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
President Shimon Peres said that peace between Israel and the Palestinians is possible within months, but called the PA's plan to seek recognition of statehood in the UN this September, "an illusion," he said in an interview to the Associated Press published Thursday.
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A Palestinian state born of a unilateral declaration in the UN, the president said, would "remain [on] paper and will raise false hopes," he told the AP.
Israel, he said would respond to such a declaration made by the UN by asking: "Can you stop terror, United Nations? Can you stop the politics of Iran that finances Hezbollah and finances Hamas? Can you stop the smuggling of arms? ... And if the United Nations cannot answer it, so what is the value of their resolution?" according to the report.
Nonetheless, the president expressed optimism that a deal with the
Palestinians can be reached within months. "I don't exclude that in
spite of the shortage of time we can conclude an agreement with the
Palestinians" before September," AP reported.
He also downplayed the issues that have held up the peace process for so
many years, telling the AP, "In a strange way, the differences are
rather psychological rather than material."
"I know a little bit about negotiations," the president said, "The
opening position is extremely loud and very maximalist ... but they you
have to go down quietly."
Even the issue of the Palestinian right of return evoked a positive
response from the former Oslo negotiator and Nobel Peace Prize winner.
Peres said he thinks a "creative" solution is possible to the issue that
has been called a non-starter in negotiations, according to the report.