Israel's Peres urges Arab intervention in Syria
Israeli President Shimon Peres, delivering an historic address to the European Parliament, on Tuesday called for Arab League intervention in Syria "to stop the massacre".
"The Arab League can and should form a provisional government in Syria to stop the massacre, to prevent Syria from falling to pieces. The United Nations should support the Arab League to build an Arab force in blue helmets," he said.
In the first speech to the assembly by an Israeli head of state in almost three decades, Peres said the free world "cannot stand by when a massacre is carried out by the Syrian president against his own people and his own children."
"It breaks all our hearts."
"The intervention of Western forces would be perceived as a foreign interference," he said.
The Israeli leader, about to wind up an eight-day Europe tour taking in EU institutions as well as France, received a standing ovation from the 754-member parliament.
Saying Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was a threat to the entire region "and even for Europe" because he possessed a chemical arsenal, Peres said Arab League intervention was the best solution to prevent chemical weapons from falling into the wrong hands.
The fate of Assad's chemical arsenal was "a real problem", he said at a news conference immediately after the speech.
Hailing the European Union's feat in turning a continent at war into a continent at peace in six decades, Peres singled out Iran as the world's Number One enemy.
"The greatest danger to peace in the world is the present Iranian regime," he said, attacking Tehran not only for "aiming to build a nuclear weapon" but also for violating human rights by hanging people and discriminating against women.
He also slammed Iran for supporting global terrorism, notably via "its main proxy", the Lebanese Hezbollah, blaming the group for dividing Lebanon, supporting Assad and sowing terror across the world, lastly in Europe.
The EU is already under pressure from Israel and the United States to put Hezbollah on a terrorist blacklist and Peres added his voice to the calls.
"We appeal to you -- call terror, terror," he said. "Save Lebanon from terrorist madness. Save the Syrian people from Iran's proxies. Save your citizens and ours from Hezbollah."
The last Israeli head of state to address lawmakers from the bloc's then 10 nations was Chaim Herzog 28 years ago.
© 2013 AFP