President Shimon Peres told a summit of international ambassadors and diplomats Sunday that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is a reliable peace partner. He said Israeli diplomacy must change “from an aggressive approach to a moderate approach of dialogue.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s party and his hawkish election partner released a statement calling the Israeli president out of touch and labeling the Palestinian president a “peace rejecter.”
Peres won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1994.
Netanyahu is expected to win Jan. 22 elections, and the hard-line bloc maintains a lead over dovish parties. The statement from Netanyahu’s party said Peres’ remarks in front of a diplomatic audience represent a political stance that encourages international condemnation of Israel.