JERUSALEM, May 7 (Xinhua) -- Israeli President Shimon Peres said he was close to reaching an agreement with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in 2011, but Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided to stop the diplomatic contacts.
In an television interview with Channel 2, which was broadcast Tuesday evening, Peres said Netanyahu "torpedoed" a potential peace deal three years ago when he and Abbas reached a draft agreement on "almost all the issues."
Netanyahu asked him to wait for a little while to see whether a better deal could be negotiated, Peres said.
"The days went by and there was no better deal," he said. " Netanyahu stopped it (the potential agreement)."
According to Peres, the draft deal included Abbas agreeing to recognize Israel as a Jewish state.
"He was supposed to agree to recognize a Jewish state and we were supposed to agree on recognizing a (future) Palestinian state, " Peres said.
He also rejected assertions by right-wing Israeli ministers such as Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman that Abbas is not a partner for peace.
"I've known Abbas for 30 years? and the truth is he has fought terror with the resources that he has," Peres said. "He talks about peace and makes courageous remarks."
The latest round of U.S.-brokered talks between Israel and the Palestinians resumed in July, after a three-year halt in official diplomatic contacts.
Sticky points such as Israel's stern security demands, its refusal to halt construction of housing units in the West Bank and in east Jerusalem settlements made it difficult to achieve any real progress in the nine-month talks.
Israel's refusal to release the final batch of long-held Palestinian prisoners as was agreed earlier also hampered progress in the talks.
The talks were suspended two weeks ago by Israel after a unity agreement between Palestinian rivals Fatah and Hamas.
While Israel has been negotiating with the Fatah-governed Palestinian Authority led by Abbas, it has considered Hamas a staunch militant enemy.
Hamas has objected to the peace talks and to acknowledging Israel in the past.