September 11, 2001
AARON BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Before, sir, we get to any of the specific questions, let me just ask you first, if I may, for a reaction to what has taken place here.
FM PERES: Our heart is with America, and our heart is with the thousands of families that have lost their children, their brothers, mothers. For Israel it is a day of mourning. We announced that tomorrow the whole nation will be mourning.
I am sure that as bitter and painful the event is, the only one that can save humanity from this terrible danger is the United States of America. It was not an attack only upon America, but an attack upon civilization, an attempt to introduce the wolves of the jungle into our lives, not to permit people to fly freely, to walk safely, to be assured at the places they live.
It is like a declaration of war, or an introduction of a terrible weapon, and we have draw all the conclusions fully, uncompromisingly and right away.
BROWN: Sir, you have been a soldier, a leader of a country. You have been privy to some of the most detailed intelligence reports there are out there. Are you surprised by the sophistication that must have been at play to carry out these attacks?
FM PERES: It’s a solid indication of the most evil kind. Only evil people can arrive at such sophistication. And the measures must be radical as the evil itself.
I think what should be done is to identify every country that hosts or supports terror and declare those countries as terrorist countries. I think there must be a call to all religious leaders – Christian, Muslim, Jewish – to condemn fully without an excuse all the suicidal vandals, suicidal persons, who are there to kill others while killing themselves. It’s against the basis of our lives, it’s against the gospels of every believer.
Then again, we have to organize ourselves globally, because we are going over from a world of enemies, where we have had armies to face, to a world of global dangers where we don’t have neither a clear enemy nor an army to stop. We have to get ourselves organized properly, and fully, and immediately.
BROWN: Mr. Foreign Minister, I hope you will answer this. Did the government of Israel have any intelligence prior, any indications prior, that something like this might happen?
FM PERES: Not specifically. We have had warnings, and there are all the time warnings. But we know, and all of us are aware of some of the addresses from which terror can arise. But we don’t have any specific information, and I wouldn’t try to blame anybody without full knowledge.
BROWN: I understand that. And let me then just for the record ask the logical follow up, which is: Since the attacks themselves, has Israeli intelligence picked up any information that suggests who might be involved in this?
FM PERES: Any information we shall have, we shall hand over immediately to our American friends. We are also right now sending a plane with our rescue team. We shall do whatever we can in order to be of help. We shall do it full heartedly, without any reservations.
Today each of us feels American, like an American, with all the seriousness, all the pain, and all the determination.
BROWN: Sir, do you have any doubt in your mind that the root of this attack on the United States today lies in the Middle East, the events in the Middle East, the organizations in the Middle East, do you believe that to be the case?
FM PERES: I think we have to bring an end to conflict in the Middle East, but you know there were already acts of terrors in the United States disconnected from the Middle East, and terrorism exists also in many other places.
We have to put an end to terror, because it is a danger to every person and every country, no matter where it is. The attraction to use terror in order to kill, in order to threaten, exists everywhere. It is not connected to a specific case or specific place.
||Radio Interview with Foreign Minister Shimon Peres on the Voice of Israel – Sept 12, 2001|
||Excerpts of interviews with FM Peres – Sept 11, 2001|
||Israel Reacts to Attacks on US – Sept 11, 2001|