(Communicated by the Office of the President)

President Shimon Peres, this morning (Thursday, 21 February 2013), delivered the main speech at the state memorial ceremony for Joseph Trumpeldor, 93 years after his death. President Peres used his speech to call upon the European Union to add Hezbollah to its list of proscribed terror organizations in light of its involvement in the bombings in Bulgaria, Cyprus and Nigeria:”

A short distance from here a terrible tragedy is unfolding. In Syria, the president is shooting his own people, the children of his country. On our border, in Lebanon, Nasrallah, wrapped in a cloak of religiosity, is pushing Lebanon into a bloody war. It is time to call Hezbollah what it really is – a murderous terror organization. The United States of America and other countries have already included Hezbollah in its list of terrorist organizations. Now, after it has been proved that Hezbollah was behind the terror attack in Bulgaria, on European soil, and murdered innocent civilians, and as reports increase of its involvement, along with Iran, in attacks in Cyprus and Nigeria, the time has come for every country in the world, and especially the European Union, to add Hezbollah to its list of terror organizations.”

President Peres continued and said, “The sword of Hezbollah threatens the peace of Lebanon more than the security of Israel. Nasrallah, through his actions, stains all of Lebanon. Lebanon must decide which way she faces – to fire or to peace. In fire they will carry the burden of the fire they ignite, in peace Lebanon can return to herself as a multicultural country. We extend our hand in peace to the country of the cedar trees and regret that Nasrallah seeks the opposite, fire in the trees of Lebanon.”Addressing the wider Middle East President Peres said, “In countries across the Middle East there are great storms, in Iraq, Yemen, Libya there are civil conflicts raging and in other countries violence is increasing. These situations have nothing to do with Israel – these are fires ignited from within. Israel has always sought peace, a country seeking to put out the flames. We are saddened by the suffering of millions of innocent people, they are the victims, the refugees, the homeless and hungry, we are willing to extend our hand in humanitarian support if called upon.

We must also remain vigilant of the flow of weapons from Syria to Lebanon. Weapons from Iran stoke the civil war and deepen the catastrophe in Syria, and strengthen Hezbollah. There is nothing wiser than peace; there is nothing better for the Middle East then regional peace. Terror against Israel will not achieve its aims but the opposite, it harms its instigators. We still face grave dangers but we will overcome them just as we overcame dangers before.”Iran stoke the civil war and deepen the catastrophe in Syria, and strengthen Hezbollah. There is nothing wiser than peace; there is nothing better for the Middle East then regional peace. Terror against Israel will not achieve its aims but the opposite, it harms its instigators. We still face grave dangers but we will overcome them just as we overcame dangers before.”

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