At a meeting with Israeli reporters accompanying President Shimon Peres during his visit in France over the weekend, the president's spokeswoman, Ayelet Frisch, seemed to make up Peres' mind for him and quashed a sentence the president himself said.
Asked by a Channel 1 reporter who was accompanying the entourage whether Peres thought the peace process should be renewed and that construction in the settlements should be frozen ahead of the upcoming visit by U.S. President Barack Obama, Peres answered, "It should be done. It would ease the pressure on Israel and improve its international standing. We must cultivate our friendly relationship with the U.S., but we won't know what future measures the government will enact until the coalition is assembled."
Immediately following this remark, Frisch abruptly stopped the briefing and said the president had misunderstood the question. She asked the reporters to ignore Peres' answer, saying the president had only heard and responded to the first part of the question, about the resumption of peace talks.
It was not clear whether Peres asked Frisch to do this, or if Frisch acted on her own volition.
Earlier in the briefing, the president voiced hope that with the establishment of the new government, Israel would resume peace talks with the Palestinians. Asked what he thought about the new coalition that was taking shape, Peres said, "I will only be able to comment on the composition of the coalition after we hear from the prime minister who is in it and what its plan is."
Peres also condemned the recent spate of physical attacks against Arabs across Israel recently, saying, "These are terrible deeds. The handful of people perpetrating these attacks is casting an enormous shadow on all of us. Israel's citizens and authorities — all of us — must do everything in our power to prevent this."