Peres to EU: Save Lebanon From Hizbullah’s ‘Terrorist Madness’

YERUSHALAYIM -
Israeli President Shimon Peres (L) is applauded by European Parliament President Martin Schulz (R), as he arrives in the hemicycle of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, northeastern France, to give a speech on March 12. (Frederick Florin/AFP/Getty Images)
Israeli President Shimon Peres (L) is applauded by European Parliament President Martin Schulz (R), as he arrives in the hemicycle of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, northeastern France, to give a speech on March 12. (Frederick Florin/AFP/Getty Images)

In an address to the European Union in Strasburg on Tuesday, Israeli President Shimon Peres called on the EU to recognize and act against the “terrorist madness” of  Hizbullah.

It was the most dramatic call yet for the EU to officially list Hizbullah as a terrorist organization, which Israel and the United States have pressing for during recent months.

As he stood before representatives of the 27 EU members, Peres noted that Hizbullah has not only divided Lebanon religiously, politically and ethnically, it is carrying out terror attacks and threatening the stability of the entire region.

“Recently, 20 terror attempts by Hizbullah were counted all over the world, in India, Thailand, Georgia, South Africa, the U.S., Egypt and Greece, among others,” said Peres, adding that last month, Bulgaria, a member of the EU, blamed Hizbullah for the attack in Burgas that killed five Israeli tourists and a Bulgarian citizen last July.

Peres, whose family barely escaped the Holocaust, denounced the Iranian regime’s denial of the Holocaust:

“I stand here before you, burning memories in my heart … I immigrated to Israel in 1934, at the age of 11. In 1942, most of the inhabitants of my town were burned alive. Had my family delayed their emigration by eight years, we would have been exterminated.”

Referring to Iran, he said: “They deny the Holocaust. They call for another Holocaust.

“They are aiming to build a nuclear weapon and they deny it. A nuclear bomb in the hands of an irresponsible regime is an imminent danger to the world.”

Iran, he said, has “developed an imperial appetite.” Nobody threatens Iran, he said, but Iran threatens others, endangering the independence of Arab countries and menacing the mere existence of Israel.

Peres appealed for the international community to raise its voice against the oppressive treatment of Iran’s own citizens, as well, describing it as “a dictatorship cloaked in a religious mantle.”

“During the Helsinki conference which took place in 1975, the U.S. placed the issue of human rights in the Soviet Union at the top of the world’s agenda. It was surprising and effective. It shows that the moral voice is no less important than a diplomatic demarche.

“Today, this call should apply to Iran. A clear voice must be raised against the violation of human rights by the Iranian regime. A clear voice must be raised against a regime that hangs people without bringing them to court, that throws journalists into prison without trial. That fires live bullets at civilian demonstrators, without respect for their lives.”

Turning to the Syrian crisis, he urged “a solution to prevent the chemical weapons from falling into the wrong hands. The best solution to put an end to the Syrian tragedy might be achieved by empowering the Arab League, of which Syria is a member, to intervene.

“The intervention of Western forces would be perceived as a foreign interference.

“The Arab League can and should form a provisional government in Syria to stop the massacre, to prevent Syria from falling to pieces. The United Nations should support an Arab force in blue helmets.”

The Israeli president concluded by reiterating his country’s dedication to finding a peaceful and workable solution to the conflict with the Palestinians.