(Communicated by the Office of the President)
President Shimon Peres, today (Monday, 30 September 2013), visited the International Court of Justice in The Hague and held a rare meeting with the judges of the court including President Peter Tomka. President Peres began the meeting by stressing the importance which Israel attaches to international law, Israel's constant struggle against terrorism and the countries which finance it and the importance the ICJ has in solving disputes between states. President Peres said, in the clearest way possible regarding Israel's fight against terror, that "IDF soldiers hold morality and justice as their highest values – the IDF is committed to defense and peace while securing human rights and maintaining international law."
President Peres updated the judges about the status of the negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians and said: "The negotiations with the Palestinians opened not long ago and we hope that they will bear fruit for the two sides who want to live side by side in peace and security. Completing the negotiations is of the utmost importance – it is perhaps the last and most significant conflict between us and the Arab world."
President Peres discussed with the judges the difficulties faced by Israel's citizens who live under the threat of terror and his personal experience of dealing with terrorism as Prime Minister after the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin: "Peace exacts a heavy price but it remains the desire of the people of Israel. I stood with the citizens of Israel in the streets after the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin – as an Israeli I was under a tremendous wave of brutal terror attacks during which buses exploded in the streets and children were murdered in shopping centers. In the years which followed, after the painful and difficult disengagement from the Gaza Strip during which Israel removed families from their homes, rockets were fired at innocent civilians. Mothers and children slept for long periods of time in bomb shelters." The President added that "Israel underwent seven wars but we never stopped our search for peace with our neighbors. Never did a day of war postpone a day of democracy. Never did wars justify injustice."
ICJ President Tomka told President Peres: "We are honored by your presence. Peace can be based on justice and solid legal foundations, whenever we solve disputes between sovereign states we always emphasize that the most efficient way is through negotiations. We wish your people peace and justice in a safe and secure environment with peace with your neighbors"
In the press conference which followed the meeting, President Peres addressed the speech by the President of Iran at the United Nations and said: "Rouhani's speech was nice but it was based on a false reality as Iranian centrifuges, at this very moment, continue to work and produce enriched uranium for a nuclear bomb, the program to develop long range missiles which can carry nuclear warheads is being expanded and the Revolutionary Guards continue to support terror organizations. We listen to the speeches at the United Nations, but the only way to test Iran's intentions is by deeds and not just words. The Iranian nuclear threat is not just an Israeli problem but for the whole world which doesn't want to be threatened by one country."