A report in Yisrael Hayom quoted Likud officials as reacting sharply to comments Wednesday by President Shimon Peres against the demands by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu that the Palestinian Authority recognize Israel as a Jewish state. Peres, said the officials, was once again shooting off his mouth on matters that he was not authorized to speak about.
A report quoted Peres Wednesday as saying that Netanyahu was “stubbornly” making “unnecessary” demands that were impeding the peace process. “The stubbornness of the Prime Minister is unnecessary and liable to make the peace talks fail,” Peres reportedly told several world leaders at the World Economic Summit in Davos.
According to the report, Peres has not publicly expressed his opposition to the demands to recognize Israel, but in private conversations has said that Israel is a Jewish state and that the details of recognition should be sorted out after a PA state is created.
The Yisrael Hayom report quoted goverrnment minister Gilad Erdan as saying that “the demand that the PA recognize Israel as a Jewish state is not arbitrary, but a way to ensure that the Palestinians do not make further demands after an agreement has been signed.”
“It is sad that Peres is once again making negotiations more difficult by pushing his personal political beliefs,” he continued. “We have a Prime Minister who was elected to represent the nation. I do not understand why Peres insists on doing this.”
The report also quoted minister Yuval Steinitz as saying that “all negotiations for peace begin with mutual recognition. They still have not come to terms with the existence of the Jewish people and its right to a state. As long as the Palestinians do not recognize us as a Jewish state there will be no peace.”