Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Peres on CNN rejects the 'unfair' Goldstone report - "The right of self-defense is non-negotiable".

(CNN).Israeli President Shimon Peres rejected a United Nations report on his country's incursion into Gaza as "one-sided" and "unfair" in an interview with CNN.

Peres insisted that Israel had a right to defend itself, and said the United Nations was in danger of "supporting the terrorists instead of supporting the fight against terrorists.

"If you can't fight terrorists, then ... nobody is defending us. We never asked any other people to fight instead of us, but the right of self-defense is non-negotiable," Peres said during Monday's interview.

"I think we have shown courage in war and we have shown devotion in peace and we shall continue to struggle for peace," he said.

Peres also warned that the international community must maintain its focus on keeping Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

"At the beginning the purpose of the negotiation was to prevent a nuclear bomb," he said.

"I am afraid that now people are moving from prevention to inspection. It's not the same, particularly when it comes to Iran," he said.

Israel prefers peaceful means to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran, Peres said, but he left open the door to a military attack.

"I think if it can be settled by peaceful means -- by sanctions or on other ways to impress the Iranians -- better than a war. I don't think that we have to announce all the options ahead of time," he said.

He remained typically evasive about whether Israel has nuclear weapons. Many experts believe it does.

"We are aware that Israel is being suspected that we have nuclear bombs. I answer this with a smile," he said. "If we are suspected, that's enough. If suspicion can serve as a deterrent, that is our purpose."