Peres: peace process 'about to crash into the wall'

By Jennifer Lipman, June 17, 2011
President Shimon Peres

President Shimon Peres

Israel's president has warned of the dangers of "foot-dragging" when it comes to peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

Shimon Peres said he was concerned by the stalemate situation and feared that Israel would become a binational state.

Mr Peres, who first entered Israeli politics as a member of the left-wing Mapai party, said: "What is happening now is total foot-dragging. We're about to crash into the wall.

"We're galloping at full speed toward a situation where Israel will cease to exist as a Jewish state."

Although Mr Peres did not directly contradict the official government position, he referred to a peace agreement along 1967 lines – something Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has strongly opposed.

"Whoever accepts the basic principle of the 1967 lines will receive international support from the world," he said. "Whoever rejects it will lose the world."

He also said that the September deadline for an agreement, based on Palestinian plans to unilaterally declare statehood at the UN, was "only a date".

"The question is what will happen before and after."

Last updated: 9:58am, June 17 2011