(Communicated by the President’s Spokeswoman)
Jerusalem, 15 November 2001
President Moshe Katsav today (Thursday), November 15, 2001, issued the following greetings on the occasion of Ramadan:
"On the occasion of the commencement of the Ramadan fast, I am – on behalf of the Israeli people – happy to send heartfelt greetings and wishes for a blessed and festive holiday to all peace-loving Muslims in the Arab world, to all Muslims in Israel and to all Muslims in the Palestinian Authority.
I would like to take this opportunity to appeal to our Palestinian neighbors, both the leadership and the public, to put out the fire so that we may begin a serious and basic dialogue that will lead us to genuine peace and security. We want peaceful coexistence. We want both of us to enjoy a quiet life of peace, freedom and prosperity.
The leadership that you have chosen is our address for negotiations. We respect and esteem the Palestinian leadership. We respect and esteem the Islamic holy places; we will do our utmost to safeguard the sanctity of the Islamic holy places and will not allow anyone to even inflict even the slightest injury to them, especially the sacred mosques on the Temple Mount. Muslims will continue to enjoy complete freedom of worship; for us, this is a sacred principle.
The Jewish people have suffered over the centuries and were unable to exercise freedom of worship; for this reason, we will not agree to any infringement on the right of others to worship freely.
The way of bloodshed will lead us to disasters, destruction and ruin, and will bring us neither benefits nor hope. The time has come to put an end to suffering by halting the bloodshed and beginning responsible and honorable diplomatic negotiations that will lead to peace, stability, social welfare and prosperity for the peoples of the region and a promising future for the younger generation.
I also believe that the God we all worship expects that our prayers for peace will be both sincere and put into practice."