Israel Radio, April 13, 1994
(Translated from Hebrew)
Q: We just heard Prime Minister Rabin say that he promises to continue the peace process.
FM PERES: We are returning now from the cemeteries, where almost 18,000, the cream of our children, lie buried. Without their sacrifice, I doubt whether we could have established the State of Israel. But even when there were cruel battles, and our sons and daughters were killed, we were not deterred from continuing on the road of state-building.
Now we are on the road to peace. Then the Arab armies tried to prevent us from establishing a state. Now the terrorist organizations are trying to do the same thing. Of course it hurts, of course we grieve, of course our hearts are with the bereaved families, and we pray for the recovery of those injured. But just as the Arab armies did not prevent us from establishment a state, neither will these reprehensible terrorist organizations prevent us from achieving peace. We are stronger than them. It is very painful the blood, the bereavement, the injuries. But we shall not hand over the destiny and the needs of the State of Israel to HAMAS or those like them.
Q: This was a severe attack by a brazen organization, Iz a-Din al-Kassam [of HAMAS]. Is there any room for second thoughts with regard to the way in which the government is conducting the peace process?
FM PERES: Should anyone try and stop the peace process, we would see all these organizations, like snakes, lifting their heads. This is the worst imaginable option. They committed murder before there was a peace process, and they will continue to try to do so when there is a peace process. We shall not halt the process. We shall not satisfy their evil desire. If the army, police and security forces will propose additional measures, I am confident that the government will adopt them and implement them. The entire people is today united around the issue of our security, and determined not to place its fate in the hands of others.
Q: Are you speaking of measures in addition to the closure?
FM PERES: If it is necessary, and if there are additional measures.
Q: What about the timing a cruel attack on this sacred day, Memorial Day?
FM PERES: It was clear that on the 40th day [after the Hebron massacre] they would try to attack wherever they could, and would seek the targets that are the hardest to defend, such as civilian passengers on buses. But with all the pain, we shall bite our lips and continue to defend the land and move forward towards peace.
Q: We shall bite our lips and wait for Arafat’s condemnation, for more vigorous action by Fatah against the enemies of peace?
FM PERES: We are not making peace for Arafat’s sake. I do not need his condemnations, and I do not need his compliments. This is not my criterion for peace. We seek peace and are making peace for our people, for our children. He will not determine the outcome, and we will not continue to pursue peace because of any condemnation or praise. We are not serving anyone, but only our goals and our needs. We must stop begging Arafat for a condemnation. We are negotiating because we want to. We are seeking peace for our children.