napolitano and peres.
(photo credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS)
“The United States and Israel have a strong, enduring partnership,” US Secretary for Homeland Security Janet Napolitano told President Shimon Peres at Beit Hanassi on Monday.
Much of that partnership is focused on security and on security-related science and technology, she said, adding that she wanted to make sure that whatever was being done in the sphere of that partnership was being done “in a productive and robust fashion.”
In welcoming Napolitano, Peres said that her visit was more than just friendly. He characterized it as “useful and timely,” given that security was a top priority in the world today, and more so in Israel.
Peres suggested that “homeland security” was a misnomer in that it was insecurity generated from the outside that gave cause for concern.
“For us, security is a key issue,” he said, adding that it was even an issue in political terms because it would enable Israel and the Palestinians to agree on borders. Security as such is more important to Israel, he said, and borders will enable the Palestinians to have their own state.
When Israel left Gaza, Peres continued, it was in expectation of forging a good relationship with the Palestinians. Instead, the area was converted to a place of terrorism. “It is lawless, cruel, unexpected and can arrive at every place, ” he said, warning of the insidious nature of terrorism.
While appreciative of all efforts to fight the phenomenon, Peres observed that not enough attention was paid to the fact that terrorists corrupted morality. Citing an example of that corruption, Peres expressed amazement that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had been given a platform at the United Nations General Assembly in New York to accuse the United States of destroying the Twin Towers.
Peres described Ahmadinejad as “one of the most dangerous and cruel leaders of our time” and said that all fair-minded people should condemn him. He added that many countries were supporting the Palestinian conflict with Israel as a cover for their support of terrorism.
The president also advocated that a group of countries led by the United
States and including Israel, Egypt, Jordan and the Palestinian
Authority band together against the Iranian threat.
“We would like to see a Middle East that fights lawlessness and will come together to fight terror,” Peres said.
He was also appreciative of the anti-terror efforts of US President
Barack Obama and said that the president’s achievements in this respect
were impressive, especially because he had succeeded in the difficult
task of forming a coalition against terrorism that had imposed effective
economic sanctions against Iran.
Peres also emphasized the need to develop an anti-missile defense ring
that would protect all those who might otherwise be the victims of
Iranian ambitions. Such a ring would have to withstand both long-range
and short-range missiles.