Peres and Clinton at Brookings Institution

Peres and Clinton at Brookings

  •   President Peres and Secretary Clinton discuss strategic challenges in the Middle East
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    ​President Peres, in Washington to receive the Medal of Freedom from President Obama, participated in an event at the Brookings Institution together with US Secretary of State Clinton.
    Peres: "One of the important things about the Arab Spring is that the Arab youngsters understand that their situation is not a result of the conflict between us and the Palestinians. They know that reform begins at home."
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    President Peres and US Secretary Clinton President Peres and US Secretary Clinton Copyright: GPO
    President Peres and US Secretary Clinton (Photo: GPO)
     
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  • Excerpts from remarks by President Shimon Peres:

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    ​"In Syria, two unprecedented things happened. First of all, the bravery of the Syrian people, which in my eyes is admirable and unbelievable. People are facing fire every day, a dictator that kills children. I really want to express my admiration for an Arab attempt to fight for their own freedom. It’s admirable, and I wish them success. The second point, which is unprecedented, is that the Arab League took on responsibility against an Arab country, in a joint venture between the United Nations and the Arab League...
     
    In Israel the domestic situation is the result of the outside world. We cannot separate ourselves on the global world from the changes in Egypt, the changes around the world. It’s moving.
     
    And even between us and the Palestinians  there have been some positive moves. One is the economic development - because in order to make peace, you have to build a nation, and the Palestinians have started to build a nation with the American help, with Israeli support and agreement. Secondly, the Palestinians have never had a force of their own. Now, for the first time, Abu Mazen has a force, 15,000 youngsters who were trained by you, who are loyal to him...
     
    I think now is the time to make peace with the Palestinians. The Israeli government has a wider base. The Palestinians understand that not everything which was happening in the Arab Spring is necessarily bringing them time, because one of the important things about the Arab Spring is that the Arab youngsters understand that their situation is not a result of the conflict between us and the Palestinians. They know that reform begins at home. What's happening in Syria has nothing to do with Israel. What happened in Tunisia has nothing to do with Israel, or Libya. And I think we should let the Arabs reform their lives and stop using the Palestinian-Israeli conflict as an excuse.
     
    The Iranians are not our enemies. So I'm asking ourself, why are we really against Iran? Is it just because of nuclear bomb? Not only. What revolts the world against Iran is that in the 21st century, the Iranian leaders, not the Iranian people, are the only one that wants to renew imperialism in the name of religion...
     
    We see the way they want to construct an empire - by terror, by sending money, sending arms, hanging, bluffing. We cannot support it. The world cannot support a nuclear Iran. If Iran will win, the whole Middle East will become the victim. Actually, the world economy will become the victim...
    I am not aware of anybody that threatens Iran, that wants to oppress Iran or govern Iran or reduce Iran, nothing whatsoever. Iran could have flourished without it. They have oil. They have a large country. They have an old culture. Who is against Iran? We’re against a policy that endangers our age...
     
    President Obama said rightly that he wants to try with non-military means, which is typically American, rightly so. But America understands that if this will be the only option, the Iranians will laugh at them. But the Americans are saying there are other options on the table, please don’t forget it. And we are aware of the time element as well...
     
    Clearly we are more sensitive than others because when nobody threatens Iran, Iran threatens us. We are the only country which is being threatened to be destroyed by them. I don’t suggest that this is the only reason that makes us more sensitive. But it doesn't reduce the great and major danger that we are facing."