Israeli President Shimon Peres said on Thursday that he has never known any Palestinian ready and willing to concede his rights as his Palestinian counterpart Mahmoud Abbas. Speaking at a conference for diplomats hosted by the Jerusalem Post, Peres said: "I have known him for 30 years and I do not know any other Palestinian who will say that although he was born in Safad he will never return there."
This was a clear reference to Abbas's oft-repeated remark that he has conceded his right to return to the town where he was born which is now in Israel.
Asked about the accusation by Avigdor Lieberman that Abbas is not a real partner in the peace process, Peres disagreed with the former foreign minister. "The aim of the peace talks is to turn him [Abbas] into a partner," he argued.
Lieberman has said several times that Abbas is an obstacle to the peace talks and that it is not possible for a peace agreement to be reached as long as Abbas is the head of the Palestinian Authority.