Israeli President Peres defends Abbas on peace

Israeli President Shimon Peres (Photo: AP)

Israeli President Shimon Peres (Photo: AP)

Israeli President Shimon Peres has praised Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas for promoting “peace rather than terror”.

President Peres defended the Palestinian leader while implying that the more forceful approach of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman was not conducive to peace.

"As a diplomat, it's always better to be a lion in a sheep's skin, rather than to be a sheep, roaring like a lion, scaring the whole world," Mr Peres said, according to a report in Haaretz.

"The objective of diplomacy is to create friends, not to point out enemies."

Referring to remarks made by Mr Abbas in early November when he said that he no longer had any right to live in Safed, his home town, Mr Peres said it was brave "for an Arab leader to stand up and publicly state that he is for peace rather than terror, and for a demilitarised state."

“I’ve known him for 30 years,” Mr Peres said, adding: "I know that criticism of Mr Abbas exists, and he has some for us as well."

Last updated: 10:52am, December 31 2012