Peres: UN in no position to provide security for Israel

At Rosh Hashana reception, president calls on Abbas to return to negotiations.

President Shimon Peres at New Year's reception 311 (photo credit: Mark Naiman / GPO)
President Shimon Peres at New Year's reception 311
(photo credit: Mark Naiman / GPO)
At the annual Rosh Hashana reception that he hosted on Monday for the foreign diplomatic corps, President Shimon Peres on Monday once again called on Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to quickly and quietly resume peace negotiations.
“Let’s not waste time,” he urged.
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Reiterating Israel’s acceptance of a two-state solution, Peres said that what is necessary is maintaining security for Israel while creating an independent state for the Palestinians.
“The United Nations is in no position to provide security for Israel,” he said, citing the ability of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to use the UN as a platform for spewing vitriol against Israel and the Jewish people.
“To see Ahmadinejad on the stage of the UN is revolting” declared Peres, who noted that Ahmadinejad continues to deny the Holocaust and to call for the destruction of Israel, thereby acting in contradiction to the spirit of the UN.
He also continues to supply weapons to Hamas and Hezbollah, said Peres.
Returning to the Palestinian request for recognition of statehood, Peres said that the request is being dealt with according to UN procedure, but that the problem has not been solved, although an opening has been provided by the Quartet – namely the opening of discussions within the next month.
"An opening is too high a priority,” said Peres. “The problem is how to conclude the negotiations.”
Peres emphasized several times during his address that negotiations should start openly, but quietly.
When the Oslo accords were being negotiated, he recalled, they went on for four months without anyone other the negotiators being aware. Had the negotiations been made public right from the start, he surmised, “We would not have achieved an agreement.”
Similarly, before former Egyptian president Anwar Sadat came to Jerusalem, thenforeign minister Moshe Dayan held secret meetings in Morocco with then-Egyptian deputy prime minister Hassan Tohami.
It was only after they had reached agreement that Sadat came to Jerusalem and created an atmosphere for change, said Peres.
Peace talks with Jordan were also secret with Peres and thenprime minister Yitzhak Rabin meeting at night with King Hussein on the shores of the Red Sea.
There have been many starts with the Palestinians, said Peres, but the situation is more complicated than it was with Egypt and Jordan, because the Palestinians never had a definite state with defined borders, in addition to which there are divisions among the Palestinians themselves.
“You cannot have a twoheaded camp.”
Peres made it clear that all the ambassadors have an important role to play in the peace process, in trying to get Israel’s message across to Arab countries with which their own countries have diplomatic ties.
"The problem is not who is right and who is wrong,” said Peres, “but what is right and what is wrong.”
What is wrong in his eyes is the hunger and starvation that prevails in so many countries of the region. Israel – without territory, natural resources, water, and living in uneasy surroundings – has managed to create sufficiently high quality agricultural produce that enables it to engage in export to Russia, England and Holland, among other countries. It is willing to share its technological know-how with its neighbors, said Peres, who stated that he could not remain indifferent to the suffering of starving women and children.
“Let’s create the infrastructure to overcome it,” he pleaded, calling yet again on Israel’s Palestinian neighbors to join in a peace effort not only for their own sake, but for that of the region.
The diplomatic community turned out in force with the notable absence of the Egyptian ambassador and the Jordanian chargé d’affaires.
For Japanese Ambassador Haruhisa Takeuchi, this was his last formality as ambassador before completing his tour of duty and returning to Japan today. It not only gave him the opportunity to say a final farewell to his colleagues and to senior members of Israel’s Foreign Ministry, but also to personally take his leave of President Peres.
Also present were dean of the Diplomatic Corps, Cameroon’s Ambassador Henri Etoundi Essomba, who reviewed events of the region during the past Jewish calendar year, and seven of eight ambassadors-designate, five of whom will present their credentials next week.
The eight new ambassadors come from Finland, Nigeria, the Netherlands, the Philippines, Russia, China, Korea and Myamar.