Peres: Obama will strike Iran if all else fails

In comments published by the 'New York Times,' the president says if sanctions, negotiations do not work, US will attack Iran.

President Shimon Peres 521 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
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 reelection.
According to Ometz, the meetings “can be seen as an attempt to influence the results of the election and future coalition negotiations.”
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.
Rubinstein 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.
In 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.
In 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 president said.
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 my duty.”
The president spoke out publicly against attacking Iran, to which Netanyahu responded, saying that Peres had “forgotten what the president’s job is.”
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 control.
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.
“President Peres 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 a thing.”
Likud Beytenu declined to comment on Peres’s statements.