Peres: Netanyahu stopped framework agreement in 2011

Israeli President Shimon Peres said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in 2011 refrained from reaching an agreement with the Palestinian Authority on a framework for peace talks.

“We in fact reached an understanding on nearly all the points,” Peres said of himself and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in an interview that Israel’s Channel 2 aired on May 6.

“Netanyahu had the impression that there was a better offer brought in by Tony Blair,” the representative of the Quartet on the Middle East consisting of the United Nations, the European Union, the United States and Russia.

According to Channel 2, Peres and Abbas were supposed to meet in July 2011 in Amman, but the meeting didn’t happen because Netanyahu did not sign off on the framework agreement.

Peres said before the meeting Abbas had agreed to recognize Israel as a Jewish state and proceed with a formula that allowed for territory swaps, the resolution of the Palestinian refugee question and the retention of Israeli settlement blocs.

Channel 2 announcer Yonit Levy asked Peres whether it was accurate to say that he and Abbas “were on the verge of an agreement and Netanyahu stopped it. Is this the situation you are describing?”

“Maybe he really thought there could be a better offer,” Peres replied. “I do not know. I do not want to pass judgment just like that.” — jta