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Likud MKs: Peres should stay out of Iran business (JERUSALEM POST) By LAHAV HARKOV 08/17/12) Source: http://www.jpost.com/DiplomacyAndPolitics/Article.aspx?id=281635
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Likud MKs railed against President Shimon Peres on Friday, saying he overstepped boundaries by telling the media Israel cannot attack Iran alone, while likeminded politicians defended the president´s right to an opinion.
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Though the Prime Minister´s Office preferred to focus on success of the 1981 attack on Iraq´s Osirak nuclear reactor, several Likud MKs slammed the President for his comments.
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"It is too bad that the president has gone back to being the Shimon Peres we all know from the Oslo Accords and is telling us, once again, to gamble away citizens´ security and trust that everything will be fine," coalition chairman Ze´ev Elkin (Likud) said.
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If former prime minister Yitzhak Rabin had not listened to Peres, Elkin stated, Gaza would not be terrorist headquarters, threatening the south.
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"We cannot give up our national security for hugs and medals overseas," he quipped.
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MK Yariv Levin (Likud) called Peres´ statements in a Thursday night interview with Channel 2 an irresponsible mistake.
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"He who led the Oslo process, which brought over 1,000 victims, and opposed bombing the reactor in Iraq should avoid making more mistakes," Levin stated. "The president must fulfill his ceremonial job and leave critical decisions to the elected leadership, like in a civilized, democratic country."
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"Peres is the same Peres: Left-wing, defeatist and subversive," MK Miri Regev (Likud) said.
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Regev plans to check the possibility of shortening Peres´ tenure as president. According to Basic Law: The President, the Knesset can remove a president from office if at least 20 MKs submit a complaint to the Knesset Committee, which must be approved by three-fourths of the Knesset House Committee´s members before being brought to a plenum vote. Ninety MKs would then have to vote in favor of the president´s removal.
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"No president in the world would back the president of another country," she added, in reference to Peres´ statements that he trusts the US will act against Iran.
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MK Isaac Herzog (Labor), whose father, Chaim Herzog, was the sixth president of Israel, called the Likud´s reaction to Peres´ statements hypocritical.
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"In the past, Peres made statements that help [Prime Minister Binyamin] Netanyahu," Herzog said. "The Prime Minister´s office puts down any criticism and anyone that disagrees with him."
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The Labor MK pointed out that most presidents reach the role after years in the politics. Although they are supposed to be above the system and not take a stance on issues, there are occasional exceptions, he explained.
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"There are times when a man´s conscience tells him to take a stand, and this is one of them," Herzog stated. "Iran is a complex issue. Peres has a lot of knowledge on the matter, and is respected internationally. He spoke carefully, and in good taste."
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Herzog said he agrees with what Peres said, adding that the constant public statements on the matter from Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak hurt their partnership with the US.
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Former minister Haim Ramon, who is close with Peres, also backed the president´s statements, telling Army Radio: "He sees that a disaster is going to happen, and he cannot stand and watch."
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"Sometimes, the president´s job is to prevent such disasters. Especially when it is a president that Prime Minister Netanyahu allowed to be politically involved," Ramon said. "Netanyahu cannot ask Peres to be involved in diplomacy only when it is comfortable for him."
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According to MK Nachman Shai (Kadima), "the attempts [by the PMO] to silence the president are ridiculous."
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"The president is speaking responsibly and with the authority of the ´tribe elder.´ We should listen to the clear, measured voice of the president," Shai stated. (© 1995-2011, The Jerusalem Post 08/17/12)
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