Peres warns Hamas: Rocket fire threatens its existence

President pays tribute to courage and stoicism of the residents of the South, saying that they have displayed exemplary bravery.

Shimon Peres 311 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
Shimon Peres 311
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
The festive inauguration of the Safed Medical School on Sunday was marred by anger at the renewed barrage of rocket attacks from Gaza which once again put Israel’s southern communities on red alert.
President Shimon Peres prefaced his remarks at the inauguration by lashing out at Hamas, and warning that if it continued to strike out at Israel and threaten its existence, it would find its own existence under threat.
Peres declared that Hamas was directly responsible for all the hostility towards Israel that emanates from Gaza.
If Hamas rules in Gaza, Peres reasoned, then Hamas is responsible for all that happens in Gaza. It is perfectly clear that Hamas is firing rockets at random at Israeli citizens, without specifically targeting anyone, said Peres, who found it ludicrous that Hamas is protesting the measures being taken in response by the IDF.
“Why are they shooting?” he demanded, as he chastised those in the world who claim that the Israeli response to the rocket attacks is disproportionate.
“Is the firing of rockets proportionate?” he queried.
Israel has every right to defend itself, Peres insisted, adding that there was no need to detail how this should be done. “Every nation in the world would do the same, because of the obligation of every nation to defend its citizens.”
Peres paid tribute to the courage and stoicism of the residents of the south, saying that they had displayed exemplary bravery and behavior.
He also sent condolences to the family of Moshe Ami of Ashkelon, who had been struck by a rocket and killed.
Peres also wished a speedy recovery to others hurt in the rocket attacks.
The president warned that continued terror attacks from Gaza would not enable the people of Gaza to live a normal life, because there would always be the fear of Israeli reprisals.
The writing is clearly on the wall, he said, as he reminded the people of Gaza that in other parts of the Arab world, young people who are seeking an end to oppression and poverty have led the revolts of the Arab Spring.
Hamas, he said, thrives on oppression internally and terror externally.
Peres expressed confidence in the ability of the Israeli government and the IDF to do what has to be done for the safety and security of the southern settlements and the people who live in them.
While certain that most Gazans, like most Israelis, have no desire for war, Peres warned that rocket fire from Gaza is tantamount to a declaration of war.
“Fanatic extremists must not be permitted to endanger the peace for which we all yearn,” he said.