International Court of Justice President Judge Peter Tomka said the tribunal was honored by the presence of Israeli President Shimon Peres, who visited the court in The Hague, the site of much contention for Israel after the ICJ issued an opinion in 2004 saying it thought Israel’s security fence violated international law. Israel rejected the opinion, but it helped sway international opinion against the Jewish state.
In a joint statement, Judge Tomka said, “We are honored by your presence. Peace can be based on justice and solid legal foundations, whenever we solve disputes between sovereign states we always emphasize that the most efficient way is through negotiations. We wish your people peace and justice in a safe and secure environment with peace with your neighbors.”
Peres said, “The negotiations with the Palestinians opened not long ago and we hope that they will bear fruit for the two sides who want to live side by side in peace and security. Completing the negotiations is of the utmost importance – it is perhaps the last and most significant conflict between us and the Arab world.”
“Peace exacts a heavy price but it remains the desire of the people of Israel. I stood with the citizens of Israel in the streets after the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin – as an Israeli, I was under a tremendous wave of brutal terror attacks during which buses exploded in the streets and children were murdered in shopping centers.”
“In the years which followed, after the painful and difficult disengagement from the Gaza Strip during which Israel removed families from their homes, rockets were fired at innocent civilians. Mothers and children slept for long periods of time in bomb shelters,” Peres said. “Israel underwent seven wars but we never stopped our search for peace with our neighbors. Never did a day of war postpone a day of democracy. Never did wars justify injustice.”