Foreign Minister Shimon Peres
Interview on CNN with Aaron Brown
September 11, 2001
AARON BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Before, sir, we get to any of the specific questions,
let me just ask you first, if I may, for a reaction to what has taken place
FM PERES: Our heart is with America, and our heart is with the thousands of
families that have lost their children, their brothers, mothers. For Israel
it is a day of mourning. We announced that tomorrow the whole nation will be
I am sure that as bitter and painful the event is, the only one that can save
humanity from this terrible danger is the United States of America. It was not
an attack only upon America, but an attack upon civilization, an attempt to
introduce the wolves of the jungle into our lives, not to permit people to fly
freely, to walk safely, to be assured at the places they live.
It is like a declaration of war, or an introduction of a terrible weapon, and
we have draw all the conclusions fully, uncompromisingly and right away.
BROWN: Sir, you have been a soldier, a leader of a country. You have been privy
to some of the most detailed intelligence reports there are out there. Are you
surprised by the sophistication that must have been at play to carry out these
FM PERES: It's a solid indication of the most evil kind. Only evil people can
arrive at such sophistication. And the measures must be radical as the evil
I think what should be done is to identify every country that hosts or supports
terror and declare those countries as terrorist countries. I think there must
be a call to all religious leaders - Christian, Muslim, Jewish - to condemn
fully without an excuse all the suicidal vandals, suicidal persons, who are
there to kill others while killing themselves. It's against the basis of our
lives, it's against the gospels of every believer.
Then again, we have to organize ourselves globally, because we are going over
from a world of enemies, where we have had armies to face, to a world of global
dangers where we don't have neither a clear enemy nor an army to stop. We have
to get ourselves organized properly, and fully, and immediately.
BROWN: Mr. Foreign Minister, I hope you will answer this. Did the government
of Israel have any intelligence prior, any indications prior, that something
like this might happen?
FM PERES: Not specifically. We have had warnings, and there are all the time
warnings. But we know, and all of us are aware of some of the addresses from
which terror can arise. But we don't have any specific information, and I wouldn't
try to blame anybody without full knowledge.
BROWN: I understand that. And let me then just for the record ask the logical
follow up, which is: Since the attacks themselves, has Israeli intelligence
picked up any information that suggests who might be involved in this?
FM PERES: Any information we shall have, we shall hand over immediately to our
American friends. We are also right now sending a plane with our rescue team.
We shall do whatever we can in order to be of help. We shall do it full heartedly,
without any reservations.
Today each of us feels American, like an American, with all the seriousness,
all the pain, and all the determination.
BROWN: Sir, do you have any doubt in your mind that the root of this attack
on the United States today lies in the Middle East, the events in the Middle
East, the organizations in the Middle East, do you believe that to be the case?
FM PERES: I think we have to bring an end to conflict in the Middle East, but
you know there were already acts of terrors in the United States disconnected
from the Middle East, and terrorism exists also in many other places.
We have to put an end to terror, because it is a danger to every person and
every country, no matter where it is. The attraction to use terror in order
to kill, in order to threaten, exists everywhere. It is not connected to a specific
case or specific place.