Peres, Abbas call for peace at World Economic Forum

JERUSALEM (JTA)  – Israeli President Shimon Peres called for a “future of peace” during his address to the World Economic Forum in Jordan.

“I am here to express the hope and desire of the Israeli people to bring an end to the conflict and a beginning to a peaceful new age. I hope that this forum will voice a timely call against skepticism. I pray that it will allow for tomorrow’s horizon to shine bright. A horizon that will illuminate the fruits of freedom, science and progress,” Peres said Sunday evening.


Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas spoke earlier Sunday, saying he would not agree to a resolution which calls for temporary borders, saying it would prolong the conflict.

Abbas thanked U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry for his efforts to restart the peace process. He said that young Palestinians had lost hope for a two-state solution.

In his speech to the forum, Kerry called on Israel and the Palestinians to continue the peace process through to the end, asking: “Do we want to live with a permanent intifada?”

Peres and King Abdullah II of Jordan met earlier in the day on the sidelines of the forum. The two leaders discussed ways to revive peace negotiations in the region and ways to overcome obstacles facing the peace process. They agreed that a two-state solution is the only viable solution to end the conflict.

On his arrival at the forum, Peres also called for peace. “This is the time for peace. I believe this is the general desire and the clear option,” he said. “It is urgent; we shouldn’t lose the opportunity because it will be replaced by a great disappointment.”

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat called on Peres to convince Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to make peace with the Palestinians based on the pre-1967 borders.

Ahead of Sunday’s regular Cabinet meeting, Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz chided Peres for acting like the “government spokesman.”

“I think the government has its own spokespeople,” Steinitz said, according to the Jerusalem Post. “The position of President of Israel is respected, but the government makes policy decisions, and I think that every declaration of this sort, certainly on the eve of negotiations, does not help Israel’s stance.”