Peres: Over 50 missiles were fired against a civilian population. The people in Gaza have to choose either peace or violence. We shall not accept Gaza as a center of terror. It’s not a matter of wounded or killed; it’s a million and a half people who won’t have security or a night’s sleep.
Cameron: These attacks are completely indiscriminate, aimed at civilian populations and that is a demonstration of how barbaric they are.
(Communicated by the Office of the President)
President Shimon Peres, this evening (Wednesday, 12 March 2014), at his official residence in Jerusalem, hosted UK Prime Minister David Cameron for a diplomatic working meeting.
President Peres began by addressing the rocket attacks from Gaza and said, "It’s a very severe attack. Over 50 missiles were fired against a civilian population. The people in Gaza have to choose: it’s either peace or violence. We cannot behave as though nothing happened and I’m sure the government will take the necessary steps to stop it. Hamas must understand that you can’t have it both ways. We shall not accept Gaza as a center of terror, we cannot permit it. It’s not just a matter of wounded or killed; it’s a million and a half people who won’t have security or a night’s sleep. We’d clearly like to have peace but we must stop the terror. We’re not interested in raising the flames but we decided to stop the fire."
President Peres continued and said, "All of us, Arabs and Jews, we have a real option either to make a peaceful Middle East or to break the region. There are times when you don’t have a choice but now we do and we made our choice, our choice is peace based on compromise, a two state solution. We must implement it, we cannot postpone. Time is running out, decisions will be taken in the next few weeks. We have to act with energy and understand that a mistake will cost a terrible price. I know it’s difficult but you have to make difficult decisions. The real majority in Israel would like peace, based on the two state solution."
Prime Minister Cameron thanked President Peres for his words and said, "Let me absolutely clear about these attacks from Gaza, we condemn them completely. There are three important points to bear in mind. First of all they are a reminder once again of the importance of maintain and securing Israel’s future and the security threats you face and you have Britain’s support in facing those security threats. The second is that these attacks are completely indiscriminate, aimed at civilian populations and that is a demonstration of how barbaric they are. The third point is that we must be absolutely clear in the international community and all friends of Israel and the Palestinian people as well that there is no violent route to statehood and that statehood can only be achieved through dialogue and discussion and through agreement between the Israeli and the Palestinian people."
Prime Minister Cameron continued and said, "I wanted to come to Israel to once again demonstrate my friendship and support for Israel, I wanted to come to build on the very strong bilateral relationship that we have that I think has been strengthened over these last few years. We see that strengthening in trade and investment; we see that strengthening in scientific research and collaboration. We see that strengthening in high-tech investments taking place between Israeli and British companies. But I also wanted to come and demonstrate my strong support for the peace process. This is a time of real opportunity, an opportunity to have a two state solution and to make that work for the people of Israel and for the Palestinians. I think now is the moment when we need the leaders of Israel and the leaders of the Palestinian people to take bold steps and some risks to deliver that two state solution and you’ll have the strongest possible support from Britain, from Europe and from all friends of Israel in taking those steps.
Immediately after their meeting President Peres and Prime Minister Cameron toured an exhibition created especially for the visit which showcased cooperation between Israel and Great Britain in the fields of regenerative medicine. President Peres and Prime Minister Cameron were shown three projects which are being funded by the British Israel Research Academic Exchange Partnership.