Israeli President Shimon Peres reaches out to Arab world
Peace may still be a long way off, but people in the Arab world are interested in what Israel has to say about dangers that affect not only Israel but the whole of the region.
Only a day after the Israeli Navy intercepted a Gaza-bound vessel carrying Iranian rocket shipments, President Shimon Peres went to the Panet studios in Taybeh from where in a live broadcast, he answered questions from internet surfers from Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Libya, Lebanon, Jordan andEgypt who were mostly concerned about nuclear proliferation from Iran.
At one stage the website crashed due to the amount of cyber traffic from across the Arab world.
Peres spoke about the previous day’s operation in which not a drop of blood had been shed.
Iran had become the center for terror and weapons of mass destruction, and the world would soon discover the truth of Iran’s intentions, said Peres.
One Iranian surfer wanted to know whether Peres thought that Iran would recognize Israel and remove its threat in the event that a peace agreement was reached with the Palestinians. Peres said that he could not understand why Iran, which does not have a common border with Israel, wants to destroy Israel, or why it is producing nuclear weapons of mass destruction. The previous president of Iran denied the Holocaust, said Peres, adding that Iran must learn to recognize the truth.
Peres reiterated as he has said many times in public and private that Israel has no quarrel with the Iranian people, only the with the Iranian leadership.
The question from the Iranian surfer was not the only one related in some way to the peace process with the Palestinians. Peres updated other surfers on where the talks stand today from Israel’s perspective and remained optimistic that peace could be attained. He could not understand he said, why anyone would be opposed to peace.
There were also questions about the current visit to the United States by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and the attitude to Israel of the US administration.
It was very obvious from the nature of the questions that Israel is being closely followed in the Arab world – not only by people in power, but by regular citizens.
Towards the close of the broadcast Peres said that he thinks that the Arab world has learned to understand that Israel is not the cardinal problem. Israel is interested in seeing the Arab world develop and to make the same kind of progress through technological innovations as Israel has succeeded in doing, said Peres.