President Shimon Peres issued a warning to those countries standing with Syria
that it is not Syria that they support, but its leader President Bashar
“I believe that Assad is reaching his end,” Peres told heads of
foreign missions in Israel at the annual reception that he hosts for diplomats
prior to Rosh Hashana.
“It will happen sooner than we think,” he
predicted, after noting that Iran is supplying arms to Syria, Hezbollah and
Referring to Assad as “a hangman,” Peres cautioned those who side
with Assad: “Don’t hang your hopes on a hangman.”
The president also said
that while he prefers to curb Iran’s nuclear ambitions without bloodshed, “time
is limited,” and sanctions have not achieved their desired effect, leaving the
military option open.
Peres addressed the ambassadors in a wide-ranging
talk that included the scientific and technological impact on the global
economy, the changing face of the Middle East, the diplomatic and economic
sanctions that have been taken against Iran, the barbarity of Syria, his belief
in the possibility of peace with the Palestinians and the role that diplomats
can play as “messengers of hope.”
Peres was highly appreciative of the
latest diplomatic economic and military steps the United States, Europe and
Canada have taken to increase pressure on Iran in the hope of getting the
Islamic Republic to desist from its nuclear plan.
After the formalities,
Peres made a point of asking Canadian Ambassador Paul Hunt to convey his
appreciation to the Candian government for the hard line that it has taken with
The president also praised the US for trying to organize a
coalition of nations and for adopting other means of persuasion including
increasing its military presence in the Persian Gulf.
He was also pleased
that Europeans are calling for increased economic sanctions and he lauded Canada
for severing diplomatic relations with Iran.
Cameroon Ambassador Henri
Etoundi Essomba, who is the dean of the Diplomatic Corps, said he favored
utilizing every avenue of pressure on Iran, other than a military
“The international community with the United States of America at
the leading position is of the opinion that there is still room for diplomatic
isolation and tough economic sanctions to work and to curve the Iranian
ambitions for military nuclear capabilities,” he said.
Essomba said the
deadlock in the diplomatic process with the Palestinians had generated tension
between the two sides, and it was this tension that had convinced the PA of the
necessity to seek recognition at the United Nations Security
Peres said he was hopeful that the peace process with the
Palestinians would resume in the near future and expressed his confidence that
the differences between Israel and the Palestinians could be
“They are not forever, and I think in spite of all the
announcements and declarations there is also a feeling spreading that enough is
enough. The time has come to bring an end to this conflict and I think you can
be of great help,” he told the diplomats, urging them to encourage both sides to
find common ground.
Essomba, in reviewing events of the region over the
past year, said the Arab Spring had shaken up the Middle East, opening an era of
uncertainty across the region from Yemen to Libya.
Yet amid this
uncertainty, Egypt’s newly elected President Mohamed Morsy had vowed to keep all
international agreements signed by Egypt, including the peace treaty with
“This represents a positive evolution and real opportunity for
dialogue between the two countries,” said Essomba.
In this respect, he
added, Morsy was undoubtedly demonstrating a great sense of leadership,
particularly when it came to taking upon himself to work in close cooperation
with Israel in fighting the extremists who seek to make the Sinai Peninsula a
land of lawlessness.
“By this attitude, Egypt is sending an unequivocal
message, not only to the State of Israel but also to the rest of the world on
the credibility and reliability of its government, as well as its willingness to
deny the repeated appeals for the revocation of the peace treaty with Israel,”
In Syria, he said, the raging civil war is far from coming
to an end, and the efforts of the international community still remain
“Meanwhile, there is real concern over the fate of the
Syrian chemical weapons, not to mention the consequences of the conflict on the
neighboring countries,” he said.