Peres to Muslim leaders: Peace is goal


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel’s main goal is to achieve comprehensive peace in the Middle East, Shimon Peres told the country’s Muslim and Druze leaders.

The Israeli president, speaking during an official visit to the Arab-Israeli city of Sakhnin in honor of the Muslim holiday Eid al-Adha, called on Muslims throughout the world to advance moderation, brotherhood and reconciliation between peoples and religions.

"We must work together to bring a reduction in disparities in Israel, and we must work to make peace with our neighbors, the Arab states," he said. "These are the pure aspirations we must pursue despite the hardships along the way."

Peres added, "Indeed there were wars with Egypt and Jordan, and we nonetheless made peace with them. We left Lebanon and we left Gaza. These were steps that took time, and we cannot take too much more time to arrive at a comprehensive peace agreement with the whole Middle East."

In response to reporters’ questions on the topic of Iran’s nuclear ambitious, Peres said that the drop in the price of oil represented a serious blow to Iran.

"Ahmadinejad needs to wake up tomorrow morning and give food to Iranian children," he said. "What will he give them to eat? Enriched uranium?"

The president also said, "Iran needs to understand that the path of nuclear weapons and war will bring only harm."

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