Israel’s President Shimon Peres believes peace between Israel and the Palestinians is possible—and in his lifetime.
Peres, who is approaching his 90th birthday, gave a brief, yet optimistic response to the question when posed it by the UK’s Daily Telegraph newspaper.
“Oh yes,” he said. When further pressed to explain why, despite some observers’ belief that peace may be difficult with the current Israeli government that is in place, Peres added:
“Everybody is dealing with the policy of the government and naturally they look at the combination of the different parties [in] the coalition. In my experience in life, I found that more than leaders change realities, realities affected leaders – and the realities of the present situation in the Middle East [don’t] leave much time for any other alternative but to conclude a peace agreement between us and the Palestinians.”
Peres noted that “There is a clear majority for a two-state solution” and told the Telegraph that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is “In many ways” Israel’s best partner for peace to-date.
“Nobody’s perfect, but by and large he is a serious man, a man that wants peace, a man that negates terror and there are some important political merits… [He] is a man in my judgement that we can conclude peace [with].”
This coincides with current Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s slow yet conclusive turn towards the accepting the idea of the two-state solution, says Peres.
“For him it was an ideological departure. He wasn’t born with the two-state solution – as a party, I mean. The fact that he has agreed to it… is a change in the traditional ideology of the Likud Party. There are realities in life. You can’t escape them. The fact that you have an ideology doesn’t mean you don’t follow the reality.”