President Shimon Peres is disturbed by the deterioration in Israel’s diplomatic position and its international standing, troubled by the possibility of a spontaneous European boycott that is being organized and which may yet turn into an organized embargo, and is working behind closed doors towards the formation of a unity government and bringing Kadima into the government.
During the past few weeks, Peres has been conducting talks with at least three young Likud ministers about the need to widen the coalition and bring Kadima into the government. He got sweeping agreement for the idea from all three of them. At the moment, Peres is not exerting pressure on Kadima Chairwoman Tzipi Livni, and knows first hand the position of faction chairwoman Dalia Itzik, who rejects joining Netanyahu’s government in its current makeup: without a change in the basic policy guidelines, an agreement on a diplomatic plan, and without a change in the coalition’s structure.
The President’s mood has lately been very dark, and he is worried by the sudden deterioration in Israel’s international standing. Behind closed doors he has harshly criticized how the government is being run, the fact that there are no real negotiations taking place nor a serious diplomatic plan, as well the fact that that the current situation is inflicting heavy damage to Israel’s image.Signs of Despair
The President is also disturbed by the first signs of an economic boycott against Israel that have been popping up lately mainly in northern Europe, like mushrooms after a heavy rain. In closed conversations, Peres has been saying that this phenomenon could gather strength and eventually reach countries and governments. The President feels that as long as a diplomatic process is taking place, Israel enjoys relative freedom of action, appreciation for its positions as well as its general legitimacy. When there is no diplomatic process and Israel is perceived as the one refusing peace, the world quickly loses patience, Peres claims.
Peres is very distraught by the sudden deterioration in Israel’s legitimacy to even exist, from its weak standing in the United States, from European impatience which is translating lately into declarations as well as actions, and from the fact that the situation has only deteriorated further in the last few weeks.
The President is not expressing his positions publicly and at this point has withstood pressure to voice his opinion from a public platform. He holds that in doing so, he will strengthen Israel’s outside critics, which he does not want to do. Along with this, whoever has seen the President lately has reported that he is deeply distraught, showing signs of despair and is sharply denouncing Israel’s diplomatic conduct as well as its leadership.