Peres wants peace, not flotillas
Photo: Yosef Avi Yair Angel

'No need for flotillas if Gaza turns to peace'

President Peres tells Jewish Agency assembly, 'Would Gaza leaders denounce terror, stop building tunnels, shooting missiles, release Gilad Shalit, there would be no need for any sort of closure or blockade'

President Shimon Peres on Sunday urged Hamas to abandon the path of terror and said that if it were to do so, there would be no need for a blockade on the Gaza Strip.


"If Gaza would turn to peace, she would have peace and there would be no need for flotillas," the president said at the start of the annual Jewish Agency assembly in Jerusalem.


"We withdrew from Gaza entirely and no Israeli was left in the Gaza Strip," he said.


"We did not understand then, nor do we understand now, why after evacuating Gaza, the rulers of Gaza started to fire thousands of missiles against civilian life in Israel. For what reason? For what purpose?" the president wondered.


"The question remains unanswered today," he continued, "Would Gaza agree to peace, to negotiations instead? Would Gaza leaders denounce terror, stop the building of tunnels and shooting missiles, stop attempting to kidnap Israeli soldiers and release Gilad Shalit who was abducted on Israeli territory, there would be no need for any sort of closure or blockade."


Peres said attempts have been made recently to de-legitimize Israel. " De-legitimizing Israel means to legitimize, directly or indirectly, the lawless organization like al-Qaeda, Hamas and Hezbollah and their overt and covert supporters, dictatorial regimes who kill and arrest their own people without count, without human respect."


Peres added, "Maybe some of us feel lonely, more than ever... But the truth is that we are not alone. I believe that President Obama says and means that Israel's security is America's top priority.


"I believe that Europe with its own experience and in its wisdom will turn to the people of Gaza and the West Bank and tell them that peace depends on them negotiating and is better than shooting."


'Use more leverage against Hamas'

Welfare and Social Services Minister Isaac Herzog, ahead of the weekly cabinet meeting, also commented on the flotillas planning to sail to the Strip. "The flotillas approaching Gaza should be directed to Ashdod and explain to the world that Israel has changed its policy on the entrance of civilian goods to the Strip and there is therefore no need for these flotillas," he said.


"The decision by European Union foreign minister gave Israel grounds for its stance and recognized the security interest of preventing smugglings," he added.


Herzog further claimed that the time has come "to apply additional leverage against Hamas," and called for harsher treatment of Hamas prisoners. He said the matter of Gilad Shalit warrants harsher terms for the organization's criminals.


"Israel is an enlightened country with the law as its guiding principle. There are enough things that can be done and I am saying this as someone who comes from the peace camp."


Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov addressed the flotilla issue with a firmer tone, "It doesn't matter if they are women, men or pets. These are enemy states and they should be treated as a real threat."


He said, "We must not allow these flotillas to reach Gaza, both in light of the siege and in light of the timing. We stopped the previous flotillas, and we must not allow this one to come. Furthermore, there is a flotilla coming from Iran, and, contrary to Turkey, where they were 'peace activists', this is an enemy state. Even the ship from Lebanon, certainly belongs to Hezbollah. We will use all force necessary with the smallest number of casualties."


פרסום ראשון: 06.20.10, 10:58
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