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Israeli leader’s party criticizes president

By The Associated Press

This article was originally published December 30, 2012 at 11:44 a.m. Updated December 30, 2012 at 1:02 p.m.

— Israel’s president and prime minister are trading charges over making peace with the Palestinians.

President Shimon Peres told a summit of international ambassadors and diplomats Sunday that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is a reliable peace partner. He said Israeli diplomacy must change “from an aggressive approach to a moderate approach of dialogue.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s party and his hawkish election partner released a statement calling the Israeli president out of touch and labeling the Palestinian president a “peace rejecter.”

Peres won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1994.

Netanyahu is expected to win Jan. 22 elections, and the hard-line bloc maintains a lead over dovish parties. The statement from Netanyahu’s party said Peres’ remarks in front of a diplomatic audience represent a political stance that encourages international condemnation of Israel.

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