President Peres: "It is essential to prevent Iran’s entry into Gaza."
President Sarkozy: "Together with Europe I condemn Hamas and their intolerable firing of rockets on Israel."
(Communicated by the President’s Spokesperson)
President Shimon Peres met this evening with the President of France, Nicolas Sarkozy, at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem. At the opening of their meeting, President Sarkozy said that, "I come to the region as a friend of Israel and of President Peres. I have always seen the security of Israel as a priority, and I continue to hold that opinion at this time. Together with Europe I condemn Hamas, its behavior and its initiatives, and particularly the intolerable firing of rockets on Israel. I will speak frankly and directly and say that I am very concerned by the situation. We need a humanitarian ceasefire of 48 hours with arrangements that will assure security for Israel and keep Hamas from raising its head again." President Sarkozy added that a ceasefire and a return of calm to the region would bring more regional influence to Israel, and that it is essential to strengthen moderate Arab regimes, chief among them Egypt, which has been behaving as a great and responsible state and has an important role in the establishment of a ceasefire. He added that Israel needs to take chances on the road to peace and calm.
President Peres said that Israel is fighting with great strength in Gaza in order to protect its citizens after years of restraint in the face of rocket fire on its women and children. Hamas, said President Peres, is a murderous terrorist organization and an Iranian agent, and it is essential to stop Iran’s entry into Gaza through passageways and tunnels.
President Peres noted that tons of explosives and long-range rockets have been smuggled from Iran through tunnels in the last half-year, and that Iran was using Hizbullah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza as malicious proxies and represents a tangible threat to the State of Israel and all of the Middle East.
In response to President Sarkozy’s suggestion of a ceasefire, President Peres said once again that Israel must ensure that there will be no more rocket fire on its citizens, prevent smuggling of rockets and missiles into the Gaza strip, and stop terror, and that these conditions were essential for Israel to enter into any ceasefire.
It should be noted that during their private meeting President Sarkozy discussed with President Peres the details of his initiative and mentioned that that he will also speak about it with Bashar Assad and other Arab leaders during his trip. Sarkozy made it clear that he was and remains a friend of Israel and will work with the international community and the heads of the Arab countries in order to advance quiet in the region.