Middle East: Peres admonishes government over settlements

Potentially fatal consequences for Jewish state

11 July, 10:48

(ANSAmed) - Tel Aviv, July 11 - The expansion of Israeli settlements in the Occupied Territories would have "grave" demographic consequences for the Jewish State, Israeli President Shimon Peres said during a public ceremony in Jerusalem on Tuesday. Local media say the statement by the 88-year-old 1994 Nobel Laureate and former Labor leader appeared to be an indirect scolding of the settler movement and also of the right-wing nationalists that dominate Premier Benyamin Netanyahu's coalition government.

"Israeli settlements in territories densely populated with Arabs, which followed their attack on us, can lead to a threatening demographic change. It places a Jewish majority in the State of Israel at risk," Peres said. "Without a Jewish majority it is doubtful if the state will remain Jewish." Peres' comments came a day after the publication of a government-commissioned report recommending the legalisation of West Bank settlement outposts and denying that the West Bank and East Jerusalem are occupied. Danny Dayan, representative of the largest settler movement, criticised the statements, saying Peres had "once again abused the institution of the presidency" and that his claims were based on an "inexact" interpretaion of statistics. (ANSAmed)
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