Israeli President Discusses Iranian, Syrian Threats in Televised Interview
In perhaps his most provocative public statement on the topic to date, Israeli President Shimon Peres declared this week that Iran is engaging in an “open war” with the Jewish state. The comment – which came during an exclusive interview with CNN – highlighted the Israeli government’s firm belief that Iran and its terrorist proxy Hezbollah was responsible for the bombing last week in Bulgaria that took the lives of five Israeli tourists.
Declaring that Israel would take the necessary action to prevent any new terrorist attacks on its citizens, Peres asserted that the Israeli government is in possession of “enough” solid intelligence to prove the connection between the Bulgaria bombing and Iran’s long arm of terror. He further stated that Iran is most likely planning to generate more such attacks in what is clearly an “open war against Israel.”
When asked about the possibility that last week’s bombing and other recent attacks may be revenge for the assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists that Iran blames on Israel, the Israeli President replied that, while Israel has never claimed responsibility for the killings, it maintains the right to prevent murders of its citizens. “We don’t have an initiative of terror,” Peres said. “We don’t do it. But self-defense is the right and the must of every people.”
Clarifying that Israel’s policy was one of “prevention,” as opposed to “retaliation,” Peres said, “If you have enough information about a certain person which is a ticking clock that can explode a bomb that can endanger civilian life, clearly you have to prevent him from doing so.” He backed up his point by citing reports that the United States has killed approximately 3,000 people in sustained rounds of drone strikes aimed at terrorist centers.
Peres used the occasion to comment on the intensifying violence in Syria, stating that Israel will have no other option but to seize its neighbor’s cache of chemical weapons if it determines there is a credible danger that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad may deploy them against the Jewish state, or that terrorists could get hold of the weaponry. “The use of chemical weapons is internationally forbidden... and what do you do when somebody violates the law? You fight against it,” Peres insisted. “You stop them. We shall not remain indifferent and tell them, ‘Do what you want.’” When asked to what extent Israel would go to secure Syria’s chemical arsenal, Peres answered, “Until it will stop being a danger.”
Commenting on the potential for Syrian refugees to seek asylum within the Jewish state, Peres said that while no such attempts have been made thus far, Israel would not offer assistance to any refugees who wish to enter its borders, and would use force against any would-be entrants who are armed. “If they will come by force, we shall stop them by force,” Peres said. “If they shall come in without force, we shall stop them the way any country defended her border with civilian means.”
The interview with Peres took place the day after the 40th anniversary of the infamous terrorist attack at the Olympics in Munich, Germany, which took the lives of 11 Israeli athletes and coaches. Without providing any actual details, Peres said Israel was taking preparatory measures to ensure Israeli athletes would not be targeted at the London Olympic Games, which are about to begin. Peres also made the claim that, if Israeli intelligence services had been operating at the 1972 Munich Olympics, they would have probably had the means to prevent the attack.