Left, Right, Trade Jabs over Peres's Remarks
The left and right political wings traded jabs Sunday over remarks by President Shimon Peres in favor of negotiations with Mahmoud Abbas.
Kadima Chairman Shaul Mofaz explained that Peres – who is also from Kadima – "said what the nations wants – two states for two peoples."
"The Likud mounted an attack on the President out of election-related considerations, and this should be condemned," said Mofaz, whose party is currently not expected to make it into the next Knesset.
"The Likud Beytenu, in its policies, is leading Israel toward a third intifada or an arrangement that will be forced upon Israel against its interest. Israel must go back to leading the diplomatic moves and creating its future with its own hands."
MK Shelly Yechimovich (Labor) said that "the Likud's wild attack against the country's president, one of the symbols of the state of Israel, is aggressive and despicable."
Speaking at conference of industrialists in Tel Aviv, she added: "Even the pressure Likud is under, following its decline in the polls, does not make it legitimate to harm the institute of the presidency. Saying that Peres encourages denunciation of Israel in the world is low. Peres is in the trenches, blocking attacks on Israel, and he is its best ambassador."
Tzipi Livni, who leads a party named after her, said that Peres "acted with the necessary degree of responsibility and told the public the truth about Israel's situation and status."
Netanyahu must immediately stop the Likud's attack against the president, she said. "Those who attack the president today did not do one tenth of what he did for the security of Israel, and only isolate it and harm its security."
Yesh Atid chairman Lapid voiced his approval for Peres' comments. “There is no solution other than the two state solution,” he said. “Instead of trying to manufacture empty headlines, the Likud would do better to respect the President and attempt to use him as a punching bag to try and outdo Naftali Bennett and appeal to rightwing voters.”
MK Michael Ben Ari of Otzma Leyisrael (Power to Israel) said that "Peres forgot that he was supposed to represent the entire nation and is not running for election in another failed Labor campaign. In the next elections, the nation will speak its mind against a Palestinian state, and is time that Peres will understand and internalize that this is the will of the people."
Meir Indor of terror victims' organization Almagor said: "It's time to say the truth about Shimon Peres: more than 1,400 Israelis lost their lives because of the fantasies of the man who brought here the terrorists and armed them with guns and other weapons."
In a statement, Environment Minsiter Gilad Erdan, who is also chairman of the Likud information committee, said that it was “very unfortunate that the President would express personal political opinions that are not at all in tandem with the desires of the Israeli people. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has asked Abu Mazen dozens of times to return to the negotiating table,” Erdan said. “He has also taken many actions to encourage him to do so, but he has absolutely refused.”