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Peres Hails Kerry's Peace Efforts

Secretary of State Kerry "is doing an amazing job" mediating peace efforts, Peres tells Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 2/21/2014, 3:45 AM

Peres  with presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
Peres with presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
Flash 90

President Shimon Peres on Thursday hailed U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s peace efforts.

Speaking to the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, Peres reiterated that the goal of the talks with the Palestinian Authority (PA) should be to keep Israel a Jewish state, something which he had also told Arutz Sheva a in an exclusive interview earlier.

"We have to ask ourselves what is the main purpose of the negotiations is and we should be clear that it is to keep Israel as a Jewish state,” Peres said.

“We are surrounded by many problems, there are many demands but the main purpose is to keep this small state Jewish. I don't believe there is an alternative for us or for the Palestinians other than peace. Their purpose is also clear, an independent state of their own. We would like to see them have a state of their own and we are interested in it because it will allow us to remain a Jewish state. We should not postpone. The decisions necessary are painful but they are right," he added.

Peres continued to praise the American involvement in the peace process, saying, "Without the involvement of the U.S. I'm not sure where we would be.”

“I think Secretary of State Kerry is doing an amazing job, I never saw a man so devoted and energetic and he doesn't give up,” he added. “For 65 years the U.S. stood by our side, it wasn't always convenient for them but we should not take it for granted."

Peres also commented on the situation in the region and said, "I think some of our neighbors are worried less about Israel and more about terror which is hitting them harder than ever before. There are many countries to which Hamas and Hezbollah sound more and more dangerous. There is a new situation in which we can stand together against terror."

Earlier this week, the always optimistic Peres praised remarks by PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas on the issue of the “Palestinian refugees”.

Peres, who said Abbas’s comments showed his "seriousness about reaching peace", was referring to what Abbas said during a meeting Sunday with more than 300 Israeli university students at his Ramallah headquarters.

At the meeting, the PA chief told the students said he did not want to "flood Israel" with so-called “Palestinian refugees” and that there was no need to "re-divide" Jerusalem.

Two days later, Abbas told Peruvian President Ollanta Humala that all issues in the peace negotiations with Israel, notably the refugee question, must be solved in line with international law.

At the same meeting, Abbas accused “Israeli settlements” in Judea and Samaria of being “destructive.”