Peres, Peace Now tussle over Ariel


Peace Now censured Shimon Peres for attending a ceremony in the West Bank city of Ariel.

The Israeli president was the guest of honor Wednesday as Ariel, among the largest Jewish communities in the West Bank with nearly 20,000 residents, celebrated its 30th anniversary.

Peres’ attendance drew fire from Peace Now, a left-wing lobby that calls for the removal of Israeli settlements from land where the Palestinians want to found a state.

Peres was “helping the enemies of peace and harming the chances of implementing two states for two peoples,” Israel Radio quoted Peace Now director Yariv Oppenheimer as saying.

The president’s office rejected the charge, saying Peres is head of state for all Israelis and has no intention of dabbling in political disputes.

Ariel is part of several West Bank settlement blocs that Israel, with tacit U.S. support, has vowed to keep under any future peace accord with the Palestinians.


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