amir peretz 298 88 ap.
(photo credit: AP [file])
Defense Minister Amir Peretz said Monday that he believed that the convergence plan would take place as part of an understanding between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, Israel Radio reported.
"We will make an honest, wholehearted attempt to reach complete agreement before taking any unilateral steps," the defense minister said at a meeting with the Movement for Quality Government in Jerusalem.
Peretz added that the majority of the Israeli public, as well as most MKs, supported convergence. "The sooner Israel stops ruling another people, the better," Peretz concluded.
Over the weekend, Peretz and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert sparred over the Labor Party leader's call to resume contacts with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, officials said.
The premier and his defense minister held a heated meeting on the subject late Thursday night, after Peretz openly urged the government to restart negotiations with Abbas, whom Olmert has shunned since forming his government earlier this month.
'The issue of a meeting with Abu Mazen is not at the top of the prime minister's priorities,' Olmert spokesman Assi Shariv said Saturday night. 'It is not on the agenda at the moment.'