Peres to the Iranians: It's Up to You
Iran should reject terrorism and stop its nuclear program, President Shimon Peres said on Thursday.
Peres delivered a speech before the 128 members of the Mexican Senate in which addressed the challenges, threats and opportunities facing Israel and the international community.
“Iran has signed an interim agreement with the P5+1. Success or failure of the deal will be judged by results, not by words,” he said.
“As far as Israel is concerned, we do not consider the Iranian people our enemies. We do not share a border. We do share a common history. It demonstrates that we can be friendly. There is an opportunity to solve this issue diplomatically. It is in your hands. Reject terrorism. Stop the nuclear program. Stop the development of long-range missiles.
“Israel like the rest of the international community prefers a diplomatic solution. But the international community will not tolerate a nuclear Iran,” declared Peres. “No one threatens Iran. When Iran will cease to threaten others, it will liberate itself from the burden which it has brought upon itself. I truly hope that this deal will free the Iranian people from being a source of menace and will turn it into a contributing nation for peace. Only time will tell.
“Israel extends its hand in peace to all its neighbors. But we have learned from bitter experience to beware of tyrants,” he warned. “Tyranny has no message for the future. It offers dark nights instead of enlightened days. The real promise of progress lies in the employment of science and technology by a society which seeks justice and peace."
President Peres also addressed the attempts to make a breakthrough in the peace talks with the Palestinian Authority and said, "As far as Israel is concerned, our greatest challenge today is to bring an end to the conflict with the Palestinians. We restarted negotiations with the Palestinians. It is a serious attempt to bring it to a successful conclusion.
“Peace will open new vistas, both to us and the Palestinians. Each of us – regardless of ethnicity and religion – was created equal in the image of the Lord. And has an equal chance to become better. We were not born to rule over other people. We have no ambition to control land which is not ours. We have shown it in fact when we made peace with Egypt and peace with Jordan. We returned to them all their land and assets which fell in our hands as a result of wars which we didn't initiate,” claimed Peres.
“This peace withstands the storms in our region. Our negotiations with the Palestinians twenty years ago were opened in Oslo. We were first to recognize the Palestinians as a people. As an opening, we agreed with the Palestinians that they will have autonomy as a first step. Gradually, they would become an independent state, living side by side with the State of Israel. Later on we decided unilaterally to withdraw from the Gaza Strip, leaving it to the independent control of the Palestinians. Unfortunately, the Hamas organization forced the Palestinian Authority out and turned the Strip into a launching pad, firing missiles against Israeli civilians.
“There is no reason for it. It is without purpose. It became a setback for all peace-loving people, on both sides. It interrupted the peace process and it produced a warning that if it should continue likewise in the West Bank, it may bring face the same unfortunate results,” said Peres.
“I think the entire international community has to call upon the Hamas in Gaza to stop terror and permit peace. While the peace process is difficult and complicated, we shall not give up. We shall not postpone it. We shall continue negotiations until a peaceful solution is reached,” he added.