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November 10, 2013 4:27 pm

Peres: Deal Which Doesn’t Prevent Iran From Going Nuclear Must Not be Signed

avatar by Joshua Levitt

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Israeli President Shimon Peres speaking at Sde Boker on the 40th anniversary of David Ben Gurion's death, November 10, 2013. Photo: Mark Neiman / GPO.

Israeli President Shimon Peres speaking at Sde Boker on the 40th anniversary of David Ben Gurion's death, November 10, 2013. Photo: Mark Neiman / GPO.

Israeli President Shimon Peres said that in any deal with Iran the world must be certain that Iran cannot become a nuclear power.

“Yesterday, the P5+1 did not come to an agreement, and rightly so. A deal which does not prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power must not be signed,” Peres said.

“The wording at hand does not answer this requirement. Preventing a nuclear Iran was the P5+1’s very purpose and I hope that it remains so. This is also the unyielding position of the State of Israel. We are not opposed to diplomacy to achieve this goal. But there is no point in a deal which would not prevent Iran from becoming nuclear. I believe that our government’s position, expressed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, is right,” he said.

Peres made the comments at a ceremony commemorating the 40th anniversary of David Ben-Gurion’s death, at Sde Boker, an outpost created by Ben-Gurion, in the Negev Desert, where he saw that Israel could expand unimpeded by neighbors.

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In addition to the Israeli President, the Prime Minister, the IDF Chief of Staff, government ministers, members of Knesset, representatives of the diplomatic corps, the police, soldiers and school children gathered at the site.

Peres also spoke of Ben-Gurion’s legacy of safeguarding the security of Israel’s citizens by pushing for peace with the country’s neighbors.

President Peres said, “We are gathered here today to honor the memory of David Ben-Gurion, but also to remind ourselves that we must carry on along his path. A vision to provide security to our citizens, to make the desert bloom, to establish long-lasting peace with our neighbors and to be a moral nation. His legacy will continue to enlighten our path and guide us. We are grateful to history for placing a man like him at the crossroads of the most important and difficult decisions of our people’s history for two thousand years. We remember that great opportunities often emerge from trying times.”

“Today again we face important decisions. Today again we may not leave our destinies to the winds blowing through our region. In order to keep control over our destinies, we must keep the initiative in our hands.”

“We must turn the vision of two states for two peoples into a reality, and prevent a deterioration of our situation which would lead to a bi-national state. A bi-national state which would not guarantee a Jewish majority would endanger the survival of Israel as a Jewish homeland and a democratic country.”

Peres said, “Ben-Gurion carried the heavy burden of this responsibility at the birth of our country. He made a decision – surrendering territories in order to guarantee a Jewish majority. Without a Jewish majority, the future of the Jewish homeland is not guaranteed. Many changes have come to pass since then, but this choice remains relevant to this day. It is the same as it was 66 years ago. Then as today, the differences between us and the Palestinians can be bridged. Neither us nor our neighbors have a better alternative. I know that there is mistrust between us. But the purpose of peace is to convert a history of mistrust into a reality of trust. It can be done. Peoples are difficult to change, but relations between people can be changed.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stressed his government’s commitment to the pioneer’s vision of making the desert bloom through a plan to relocate IDF technology bases to the desert, expand new housing developments and work with the 210,000 Bedouin residents of the area in the growth plans.

“This meeting at Sde Boker expresses our commitment to develop the Negev and cancel the periphery, to link the Negev and the Galilee to the center of the country, and to expedite the development of both of these areas,” Netanyahu said at the start of his cabinet meeting, which was held on-site.

“Today, we will decide on two new communities that we would like to build in the Negev and on a visitor’s center in Be’er Sheva. Of course, this is in addition to the briefings on continued development, moving IDF bases to the south, building railroads and expressways, and turning Be’er Sheva into a global cyber center, which will expedite the development of the entire Negev, which Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, very much wanted to do, and which we will greatly expedite with a combination of government investments and market forces. These are very powerful engines and they are already operating, and they will operate, of course, in the future as well.”

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