We live in a complex reality and a good part of the way is still ahead of us before we find peace and quite. We are preparing ourselves for war scenarios on all fronts, although talks about war in the summer are unfounded,” said Defense Minister Amir Peretz.
“Israel must initiate negotiations with the Palestinian Authority president (Mahmoud Abbas) for a permanent agreement. This should serve as a message to the citizens of Israel: We will not accept a political standstill. That would be bad for Israel,” he added.
Peretz was addressing 2,000 recently released IDF soldiers at a ceremony where they received scholarships.
The defense minister said that the new Palestinian unity government cannot be a peace partner in its current format. “The president of the Palestinian Authority is the person we should talk to for peace. I call upon Abu Mazen (Abbas): Fulfill your commitment and release Gilad Shalit. That would provide the required breakthrough for the political process.
“We will not compromise on the war against terrorism. Those who refuse to recognize the State of Israel reject the possibility for peace,” he stated.
Peretz commented the last war in Lebanon: “The war exposed us to the severity of the rifts in Israeli society. Unfortunately, those who could afford it had it easier. Those who did not have financial reserves suffered more during the war.
This also emphasizes the government’s obligation to attend to the citizens, and stresses the military’s duty to be prepared for any scenario. The nationwide missile attack drill (Tuesday and Wednesday this week – L.S.) is designed to improve cooperation between all bodies. We do not reckon that another war will break out in the near future, but we learned from the war that we must always be prepared.”
Peretz ended his speech with a personal address to those receiving the scholarships. “This prize is not a free gift. It entails commitment and trust. You are required to engage in social activity and invest time as your contribution to the community. This scholarship is a key to success in life and you must make good use of it. Strive to excel, reach far, and all the doors will open before you.”