(Communicated by the Office of the President)
President Shimon Peres, today (Tuesday, 3 September 2013), at his Jerusalem residence, hosted a reception and toast for the Jewish New Year with the foreign ambassadors in Israel. The President delivered remarks in which he addressed the tension in Syria, the Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations and other major diplomatic issues while stressing again that Israel has no part in the Syrian conflict but would defend itself if attacked, ""If Syria attacks us we will overcome them and that is why I believe it won't happen. We have enough of a deterrent, enough strength and defense. We have one of the best security infrastructures and one of the best militaries in the modern world."
President Peres addressed the killing in Syria and said, "Assad has lost the right to be a leader by killing a hundred thousand people. He caused it. He wasn't elected properly, it was never a real democracy but even in a democracy you don't have the right to kill your own people. Assad will disappear one way or the other."
On President Obama's decision regarding an American attack on Syria, President Peres said, "War is a very serious business and I would suggest to every leader to think as much as they can before rather than afterwards. I admire President Obama's attempt to examine every possibility to bring this horrible situation to an end. None of us can ignore it; we do not have the right to. I believe it will reach an end because moral borders are not less important that physical borders. Physical borders can be crossed by missiles, moral ones cannot be crossed. You are either wrong or right."
Addressing the resumption of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians President Peres said, "We begin this year with good news and bad news. The good news is that the peace process has been renewed. It wasn't simple for the Prime Minister of Israel, who had to overcome serious problems, who has had to take a risk and to embark upon the desired but also the unknown. He did it, he did it rightly and I think he, and his government, deserves our appreciation. Abu Mazen continues to be against terror, he continues to strive for peace and I think he has shown courage by saying that though he's from Safed he won't return there which is a meaningful declaration. Before the start of negotiations there was a great deal of doubt but the fact that the two parties are talking is a victory for reason, I hope we shall continue."
"We used to live in a world where children buried their fathers who fought in war but to see babies being killed by their own ruler, I do not believe that any human being can pass over it without considering it as the worst demonstration of evil. The peace process has been given nine months so at least we have nine months of optimism."