The President of Israel, Mr. Shimon Peres:# reads: 455
"If they fire on us, we have to fight back without hesitation; Haniyah is hiding because he knows clearly that he has perpetrated serious crimes against his people and against Israel"
The President of Israel, Mr. Shimon Peres, was the guest of honour of over a thousand youth of the Kibbutz Movement who volunteered a year's national service and who are about to enlist in the IDF. In his address to the youth the President referred to the political-security situation and said: "Three things must be done in view of the situation in Sderot and Gaza. The first, there must be complete solidarity among the society in Israel. All the people must be united with and must strengthen the citizens of Sderot – not only Tel Aviv but all the cities in Israel must identify with Sderot. When the leg of the small boy, Osher Tawito, was amputated, it was as if the leg of an entire generation was amputated. Everyone must be part of the pain of the family and the suffering of the inhabitants of Sderot."
He also added: "I have often been to Sderot. I have listened to the distress of the citizens and many times the Government of Israel has promised to accede to the requests for protective measures. I claim that Israel is sufficiently rich to accede to all the security and associated needs of the citizens of Sderot and I intend to continue to pass on this message – the message from the inhabitants of Sderot to members of the Government."
The second thing that needs to be done – If they fire on us, we must fight back without hesitation and without compromise. The people of Israel are a people, which defends itself and does not want war. We do not want to harm innocent citizens, but we will not permit our enemies to harm our citizens. Israel is willing to speak to whoever wishes to speak with it but whoever prefers to fire on Israel, should not be surprised if it is fired back on." The President added: "Words are not sufficient. I rely on the IDF and also if definite solutions to the firing of Kassam missiles take time, there is no doubt that the IDF will come out with the upper hand.
The third step which the President noted was: "Worldwide public opinion must be recruited – both in the political and diplomatic track and in widespread international information, as despicable crimes are being perpetrated against Sderot, crimes which are against international law. The moment the firing of missiles on Israel stops – quiet will reign in Gaza. The world must understand this. The Head of the Hamas in Gaza must know that those who are harmed, eventually will be those who break the law itself."
In referring to the reports that Haniyah is hiding, the President said: "Don't err – Haniyah is hiding because he clearly knows that he perpetrated a series of severe crimes against his people and against the citizens, children and women in Israel. He does not offer anything to the inhabitants of Gaza except a life in the terror tunnels."
The President congratulated the thousand volunteers, Kibbutz members, who are giving a year's service, and said: "Today's youth is as good as that of 1948 and I salute the high percentage of volunteering among the rural settlements – both in the fields of education and welfare and in the security fields, which is expressed in extremely high percentages of volunteering in the field units, the air force and the elite units."