Peres: Oslo Accords still hold


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel denied a report that it may declare void the Oslo Accords with the Palestinians.

President Shimon Peres, one of the architects of the 1993 interim peace accords, said Tuesday that he “checked out” a Haaretz report that the Netanyahu government might call off the accords should the Palestinians press ahead with their unilateral statehood bid at the United Nations.

“There is no basis for this, no basis. It is a a journalistic rumour without basis,” he told Arab journalists convened at the President’s Residence in honor of next month’s Ramadan holiday.

“I say this because in my opinion, all countries must honor their commitments, otherwise there would be no point in signing agreements,” the former Israeli prime minister added. “If you sign and then cancel, why sign?”

Peres also praised Syrians rising up against the regime of Bashar Assad.

“I was surprised, and I am full of wonderment at the fortitude of the Syrian people against their ruler,” he told the Arab reporters.

“It is easy to demonstrate, but when they fire live bullets at you and there are already 2,000 dead, and there are thousands and tens of thousands in jails and the people do not retreat, it instills in me appreciation for their bravery and their seriousness.”

The Netanyahu government was at first reticent about the Syria revolt, which erupted in March and has been partly led by Islamists deeply hostile to the Jewish state. By contrast Assad, like his father and predecessor Hafez Assad, has held fitful peace talks with Israel.

More recently, Israeli officials such as Defense Minister Ehud Barak have predicted that Assad’s regime will not last. But warm words for the revolutionaries from Israel have been rare.

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