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Tuesday, November 20, 2012
President Peres Meets with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

Tuesday 20th November, 2012

President Peres Meets with United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

President Shimon Peres, this evening (Tuesday, 20 November 2012), at his
residence in Jerusalem, met with United Nations Secretary General Ban
Ki-moon. The Secretary-General is holding a series of meetings with regional
leaders in light of the current security situation. President Peres thanked
the Secretary-General for coming and said, "Mr. Secretary-General, thank you
for coming. Your contribution as a heavyweight is appreciated and can help
to bring calm to the situation."

President Peres stressed that, "The problem is not just the height of the
flames but who starts them and who can end them. There is no room for
comparison between Israel and Hamas. Unfortunately they target civilians
we protect the
. They hide amongst their civilian population, we are extremely careful to
avoid hitting all civilians. Our army is working hard to avoid harming
civilians. Israel left Gaza willingly and totally. Nobody forced us. Hamas
is the only one responsible for the suffering in Gaza. Hamas can put an end
to it. They can bring calm to their people when they stop shooting. Israel
did not start this situation but Israel, like any other country, cannot
allow her citizens to become a target. It is against the charter of the UN
and basic human responsibility. They are targeting our children on their way
to school. Most of the missiles are fired between 07:00 and 08:00, around 35
every day, when the children are on the way to school. They then start again
between 13:00 and 14:00 in the afternoon, when another 35 rockets a day are
fired at the children on their way home."

President Peres addressed the support of the international community and
said, "There is no member of the United Nations, nor the United Nations
itself, that can allow 1300 rockets to be aimed at their civilians; women
and children. The leaders of the world must insist that Hamas stop the fire
and must make clear that terror is unacceptable." President Peres added that
the only way to achieve peace was through negotiations and said, "Our
strength is aimed at defending our civilian life. We would prefer for this
to happen by talking and without shooting. But otherwise we shall to do what
we can to stop it. We are a nation that seeks peace and have agreed to the
two state solution, this is our policy. Hamas rejects this completely; they
reject negotiations and Israel's right to exit. Peace can be attained only
through direct negotiations."

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said to President Peres, "Mr.
President you have been a man of peace all your life, I count on your wisdom
to help restore calm and seek the peace which we all want. That is the only
way to bring lasting security to all. I'm here to offer my help to end the
violence and find a path back towards a peaceful resolution of the conflict.
Our paramount and immediate concern is for the safety and wellbeing of all
civilians in Israel and in Gaza. Innocent people including children have
been killed and injured on both sides. I once again appeal to all those
commanding and operating weapons to respect international humanitarian law
to ensure the protection of civilians at all times."

The Secretary-General spoke about the diplomatic efforts and said, "Over the
past week I have spoken to many international and regional leaders by
telephone and in person, which is why I am here. I came directly from Cairo
where I met with the Arab League Secretary-General and the Egyptian Prime
Minister. Egypt is a leader in the region and I was encouraged that Egyptian
authorities are using their contacts on all sides to seek an immediate
ceasefire. I've also met with the Israeli leadership since arriving in
Jerusalem a few hours ago. I'll be meeting President Abbas and Egyptian
President Morsi tomorrow. Regrettably I'm back in the region only nine
months after my last visit because violence in Israel and Gaza is again
grabbing our attention, not progress towards a lasting peace and the two
state solution. The world is concerned, gravely concerned at the rising cost
of human lives. Further escalation would be dangerous and tragic for
Palestinians and Israelis and would put the entire region at risk. I'm here
to appeal to all to halt fire and restore calm immediately."

He concluded by saying that, "Rockets have hit just outside Tel Aviv and
Jerusalem and Israeli towns just outside Gaza, killing and injuring
civilians. This is unacceptable, irresponsible and reckless. I strongly
condemn these actions. Rocket attacks by Palestinian militants targeting
Israel must cease immediately. I know how difficult the situation is but
Israel must exercise maximum restraint, I've strongly cautioned Israel's
leaders about launching a ground operation, which will only result in
further tragedy. I have also stressed that while Israel directs at military
targets inside Gaza they kill and injure civilians and damage civilian
infrastructure. The loss of civilian life is unacceptable under any
circumstances." After the joint statements to the Israeli and international
media, the two conducted a private meeting and a wider working meeting over
dinner with their senior staff.

For additional information:

Ayelet Frish Spokesperson and Media Adviser to the President of Israel,

Yair Zivan International Media Coordinator, Office of the President of
Israel, 052-3450061

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