President Peres: “We do not need outside judges. If the Human Rights Council wants to be fair, I suggest that it consider Iran’s call for the destruction of Israel.”


(Communicated by the President’s Spokesperson)

President Shimon Peres today (Thursday, 15 October 2009), held a working meeting with Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero. The two men discussed enhancing bilateral strategic ties, the Iranian issue, the Goldstone Report and advancing the Middle East peace process.

Spanish Prime Minister Zapatero thanked President Peres for the hospitality and the warm reception he has received in Israel. He noted that he has set two goals for the trip. The first is to strengthen strategic relations with Israel and open new channels of cooperation in research and development and other economic fields. He emphasized that in this context, Spain has set a national memorial day for the Holocaust of the Jewish people so that, “future generations will know about the darkest days in modern history.”

The second goal of his visit is strengthening and establishing Spain’s involvement in the Middle East peace process, similar to that of 1991 when Spain hosted the Madrid Peace Conference.  The Spanish Prime Minister noted that, “This January, Spain will assume the EU Presidency. We will not allow this period to pass without being committed, and without working vigorously, to advancing the peace process. This is an important mission. We will cooperate fully with President Obama’s administration.”

Spanish Prime Minister Zapatero commented on his visit to Yad Vashem, from which he had arrived at the President’s Residence: “I am still moved by my visit to Yad Vashem. The Spanish people will always defend the memory of the actions and suffering which the Jewish people underwent. I favor achieving a just peace between two states that will respect each other, in which the security of the State of Israel will be maintained.”

The Spanish Prime Minister reiterated Spain’s commitment to play a fair and urgent role between Israel and the Palestinians upon assuming the EU Presidency in January.

President Shimon Peres thanked Spanish Prime Minister Zapatero for his government’s recent action regarding the cancellation of the law that allowed putting foreign nationals – including Israeli leaders and officers – on trial.

President Peres referred to the Goldstone Report and said that, “Israel has investigated every war and action which it was compelled to undertake. We do not need outside judges. We will not allow a majority that is hostile to Israel to judge us. If the Human Rights Council wants to be fair, I suggest that it consider Iran’s call for Israel’s destruction. A judicial tribunal must be beyond reproach and there is no doubt that the Arab League and opponents of Israel have a majority on the Council.  If the UN wants to investigate let them first investigate Iran for its call for Israel’s destruction.  Iran is a UN member. Ahmadinejad was recently received on red carpets in the halls of the organization. There is a limit to hypocrisy,” the President said and added, “Why isn’t Iran being investigated? Why does everyone remain silent?”

President Peres called upon the UN once again to write a clear code for the conduct of the war on terrorism. He said that there is a code for the conduct of classical war, of army versus army, but there is no code for the conduct of a war on terrorism. “Hamas fired missiles at homes, operated in the heart of the population and used children as human shields. No investigative committee, including Goldstone’s, has provided an answer as to how to prevent Hamas’s despicable terrorist acts against Israeli citizens.”

President Peres told Spanish Prime Minister Zapatero about ways to break the diplomatic deadlock and said that Israel is ready to immediately sit at the negotiating table, in fairness and in a positive atmosphere. “We will continue to work for Palestinian economic development and the building of a Palestinian force able to contend with domestic threats,” the President said, and added that, “In Israel, there is great appreciation for President Obama and we believe that his goals and his intentions are good, correct and just and that he acts out of a sincere desire and effort to bring peace to our region.”

The Spanish Prime Minister invited President Peres to come on an official state visit to Spain. President Peres accepted the invitation.