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Peres Challenges British Media to be Fair; Says Time For Peace

In London, President Shimon Peres accused British media of bias. "We charge you with genocide", chanted protestors.
By Gabe Kahn.
First Publish: 3/30/2011, 10:13 PM / Last Update: 3/31/2011, 4:15 AM

Even Israel's dovish President Shimon Peres can't go abroad without anti-Zionist prostesters to greet him, the BBC reports.

Prior to the President's arrival, the Israeli Embassy received information about pro-Arab, anti-Israel organizations planning to stage protests and disrupt his speech.

During Peres' visit to London at the prestigious Chatham House research institute Wednesday, a group of demonstrators outside held up placards calling Israel's President at a 'war criminal' and demanding he lift the seige on Gaza and 'end all hostilities.'

Protesters also chanted "Shimon Peres... we won't hide! We charge you with genocide!"

For his part, speaking to diplomats and officials from across Europe, Peres criticized British commentators for what he called their biased coverage of the Arab-Israeli conflict, asking them what they would write if 200 rockets were fired at the UK.

Peres characterized British television reporting as one-sided, saying they only showed Israeli military responses, but not the attacks they were responding to, or the daily rocket fire into Israel. He also chastised British critics of Israel who don't demand Hamas stop firing rockets from Gaza.

Peres addressed the diplomatic stalemate between Israelis and the Palestinian Authority saying most of the problems stemmed from 'psychological barriers' rather than territorial ones.

Never one to miss an opportunity to advance his own diplomatic vision irrespective of positions taken by Israel's government, Peres noted the revolutions rocking the Arab world opened a new window of opportunity to end the conflict. Israel's government has been circumspect about making statements about the prospect for peace amidst the chaos sweeping the region.

Peres added that Israel's opponents in the region cynically use the Arab-Israeli conflict as a pretext, pretending to fight for the cause of resident Arab's in Gaza, Judea, and Samaria while in reality only fighting for themselves.

Unlike his previous speech at Oxford University in 2008, President Peres speech was concluded without incident.