(photo credit: )
President Shimon Peres visited wounded naval commandos at Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer on Thursday and told them that he salutes them in the name of the State of Israel.
Peres expressed admiration for their heroism and appreciation for their willingness to lay down their lives if necessary.
“You waged a moral battle and you demonstrated courage in your actions on the Marmara
[the ship raided by the commandos]. The people on board were terrorist fighters and not fighters for peace.”
Yet despite the difficulties generated by the situation, said Peres, Israel will continue to hold out a hand of peace.
“Even today, we issue a call to Hamas and the world at large: If you want to remove the siege from Gaza, abandon terror, then recognize Israel and let’s sit together around the negotiating table.”
Peres reiterated what he has said on many occasions: that there was no valid reason for Hamas to fire rockets at Israel after Israel had fully disengaged from Gaza.
Israel is going through an uneasy period, he continued, with an
anti-Israel majority in the UN regardless of anything that Israel might
do. There was no justification for this, he said, but there was also no
chance of passing any fair or positive decisions with regard to the
Middle East because of the strong Arab lobby within the UN.
As for the commandos, Peres assured them that he was certain of their conviction that they were acting morally and correctly.
“You did not act as robots,” he said. “You weighed the odds and acted
carefully and responsibly even when your lives were at risk.”