Israeli president Shimon Peres, 90, says he expects peace with Palestinians within his lifetime

Elder statesman throws his weight behind John Kerry's Middle East peace initiative

Weeks away from his 90th birthday, Israel’s president Shimon Peres, has said that he expects to see peace with the Palestinians within his lifetime.

Speaking to the Daily Telegraph, the Jewish state’s elder statesman who has a played a leading role in most of the significant events in Israel’s 65-year history, again threw his weight behind the American led peace initiative that is currently being led by John Kerry.

Asked if he believed peace was possible his lifetime, the former prime minister replied, “Oh, yes.”

Mr Peres has been a forefront of previous peace plans. He was Israel’s foreign minister during the Oslo process in 1993, and took over from Yitzhak Rabin as premier when Mr Rabin was assassinated by a right wing fanatic opposed to the Oslo Accords.

Many in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories fear that Mr Kerry’s process is getting increasingly stuck and blame for the initiative collapsing has already started from both sides. Yesterday, Israel’s Trade Minister, Naftali Bennett said that a two state solution was “not possible” and that Israel ought to annex Area C – the portion of the West Bank under direct Israeli control.

Speaking before Mr Bennett’s comments, Mr Peres said of Israel’s coalition, which includes a number of right wingers opposed to the peace process: “Everybody is dealing with the policy of the government and naturally they look at the combination of the different parties [in] the coalition,” said Mr Peres. “In my experience in life, I found that more than leaders change realities, realities affected leaders - and the realities of the present situation in the Middle East [don’t] leave much time for any other alternative but to conclude a peace agreement between us and the Palestinians.”

Mr Kerry is expected to return to the region in the coming weeks, after postponing a planned trip last week. Diplomats and senior officials from a number of countries have urged both sides to show bold leadership, and have warned that the consequences of the US’s latest peace push could be devastating.

“[Where] you can say there is a change maybe [is] in the amount of scepticism. There are always sceptics in life. And you know, for people it’s hard to agree with optimists,” Mr Peres told the Telegraph.

“To be an optimist, you have to work very hard and have a lot of patience. It’s more natural to be sceptic, be on the safe side – something wrong will arrive, you are not surprised. You are more surprised when something nice arrives.  But in my experience in life I feel that being optimistic is wiser and more realistic than being pessimistic. My life is a sum-up of the victories of optimism, not of pessimism.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitm...

Recruitment Genius: Factory Operatives

£7 - £8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This high quality thread manufacturer ba...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Recruitment Consultant / Account Manager - Surrey / SW London

£40000 per annum + realistic targets: Ashdown Group: A thriving recruitment co...

Day In a Page

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003