´Now´s the time for peace with the Palestinians´ (JERUSALEM POST) By STEVE LINDE 04/26/12)
JERUSALEM POST Articles-Index-Top
Israel has never faced a better opportunity to reach a peace deal
with the Palestinians than it has today under the leadership of PA
President Mahmoud Abbas, President Shimon Peres told The Jerusalem
Post in a pre-Independence Day interview on Tuesday.
“I think the Palestinian window is still open,” Peres
said. “Everybody makes mistakes in his sayings and doings, but
President Abbas is constant in his announced position – for peace,
against terror, and for a two-state solution. I think we have never
had a wider basis to conclude peace than under his leadership.”
Peres and Abbas were the architects of the Oslo Accords two decades
ago, for which Peres received a Nobel Peace Prize together with
Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat.
Peres added that the need for a new peace agreement between Israel
and the Palestinians was “immediate,” and suggested that it could
represent “a real contribution to pacify... the stormy Middle East.”
On Iran, he said he believed that US President Barack Obama would not
allow “an extreme group of people” to build a nuclear bomb.
“I think Israel owes a great deal of appreciation to its unbelievable
friends all over the world, beginning with the United States of
America, and her president, Obama,” Peres said. “President Obama,
during his tenure as president, did everything he promised to
strengthen the security of the State of Israel, [thereby] deterring
the danger of war and helping to advance the chances of peace.”
Obama, in a letter to Peres for the country’s 64th Independence Day
on Thursday, reiterated Washington’s “steadfast” commitment to Israel.
“Based on shared values and interests, the bonds between our two
countries are deep and strong,” Obama wrote. “In a time of momentous
change, the United States remains steadfast in its commitment to
Israel’s security and a comprehensive peace in the region.”
He added that “as we work together to pursue common goals and meet
shared challenges, I wish the State of Israel continued prosperity
and a peaceful future.”
Obama sent his “warmest regards and congratulations on behalf of the
Speaking at a Remembrance Day ceremony at the Western Wall on Tuesday
night, Peres said the sons and daughters of Israel who had died in
battle had paid the highest and most painful price for its
establishment, its existence and its security.
While Israel most certainly exists today, he said, its peace is still
under threat from those who want to destroy it, but it is now
stronger than ever.
“If the need arises, we will know how to defend the country yet
again,” he said. “Today, we are more prepared. We are stronger. We
are greater in number. The IDF of today is mightier than ever before,
smarter in strategy and equipped with the most sophisticated
At the same time, he emphasized, the IDF is a moral army with quality
personnel. “We know that, and our enemies have experienced that in
The following are excerpts from Peres’s interview with the Post,
conducted in English:
What is your Independence Day message to the world this year?
I would like to use the good offices of The Jerusalem Post to thank
our very many friends all over the world. You know, from time to
time, we voice some criticism about foreign countries and foreign
people, but I think Israel owes a great deal of appreciation to its
unbelievable friends all over the world, beginning with the United
States of America, and her president, Obama. The United States stood
and stands on the side of Israel all these 64 years of our
independence, helping us to face great and almost impossible
President Obama, during his tenure as president, did everything he
promised to strengthen the security of the State of Israel, [thereby]
deterring the danger of war and helping to advance the chances of
The American support is bipartisan, and we thank all parties and all
people who help us and understand us so much.
Do you think Israel can rely on the Obama administration when it
comes to Iran?
Yes. I think it’s not a matter of Israel relying on America, because
America herself sees a nuclear Iran as a world problem, a danger to
the peace and security in the world. I think there’s no American
leader, and clearly that’s the view of President Obama, that can
accept a nuclear bomb in the hands of an extreme group of people....
I think that the president explained in clear words his strategy
concerning Iran, that there are two ends: One says we cannot live
with a nuclear Iran. The other is that we would like to stop it by
civilian means, but all options are on the table. I think clearer
than that it cannot be said for the time being.
Are you concerned about the situation with Egypt and the gas line?
Egypt is facing tremendous challenges, and as an Israeli I wouldn’t
say anything that can bring or create any embarrassment to Egypt. I
think Egypt has to find her own course. And we pray that she will be
able to find her way so that she can escape the real problems that
she is facing – problems of food, water, security and of peace....
I’m surely concerned, but I’m also praying for a stronger Egypt, a
united Egypt, a modern Egypt.
What about the situation with the Palestinians and the latest crisis
over the Ulpana outpost?
I think the Palestinian window is still open. Everybody makes
mistakes in his sayings and doings, but President Abbas is constant
in his announced position for peace against terror, and for a two-
state solution. I think we have never had a wider basis to conclude
peace than under his leadership. I think he’s a responsible leader. I
think the Palestinians have a very impressive group of leaders. It
doesn’t mean that everything they say, we will accept and do, and
everything we say, they will agree with. But I think the base for an
agreement is wide. The need for it is immediate, and this can be a
real contribution to pacify a little bit the stormy Middle East.
Finally, what is your message to the people of Israel this
Sixty-four years ago, we had a great dream. Sixty-four years later,
the reality has exceeded the dream. I would like that we shall have a
new dream, as great as is possible, and let our youngsters make the
dream in another few decades look smaller than the new reality that
we shall create in the domain of values, science, friendship and
peace. I mean the achievements are really far greater than the ones I
recall that we had as a dream in the early days. That shows that we
have a small land and a great people. And greatness doesn’t have
limits. Greer Fay Cashman contributed to this report. (© 1995-2011,
The Jerusalem Post 04/26/12)
Return to Top
MATERIAL REPRODUCED FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY