July 23rd, 2012
10:58 AM ET

EXCLUSIVE: Iran in "open war" with Israel

By Elise Labott and Michael Schwartz

Iran is in an "open war" with Israel, President Shimon Peres said Monday, as he pointed the finger at Iran and Hezbollah for last week's bombing in Bulgaria that killed five Israelis.

In an exclusive interview with CNN, Peres said Israel will act to prevent further attacks.

Peres said Israel has "enough" hard intelligence to link the Bulgaria attack to Iran and its proxy Hezbollah, and believes more attacks are being planned as part of what he called an "open war against Israel."

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said that Iran and the Lebanon-based Hezbollah movement were responsible for a number of attacks and attempted attacks against Israeli targets in Thailand, Georgia, India, Greece, Cyprus and other countries.

Asked whether the Bulgaria bombing and the other attempted attacks were revenge for the assassination of Iranian nuclear scientists, which Iran blames on Israel, Peres said that Israel has never claimed responsibility for the killings. But he noted that Israel has a right to prevent the killing of its citizens.

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We don't have an initiative of terror," Peres said. "We don't do it. But self-defense is the right and the must of every people."

He said Israel's policy is one of "prevention," rather than "retaliation."

"If you have enough information about a certain person which is a ticking clock that can explode a bomb that can endanger civilian life, clearly you have to prevent him from doing so," Peres said. He cited reports that the United States has killed as many as 3,000 people in drone strikes aimed at terrorist enclaves.

With neighboring Syria in a spiral of violence, Peres said Israel will be forced to seize Syria's chemical weapons if there is a risk President Bashar al-Assad would use them against Israel or that the arsenal could fall into terrorist hands.

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Over the weekend, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said he ordered the military to prepare contingency plans to attack Syria's chemical weapons arsenals, should the need arise.

"The use of chemical weapons is internationally forbidden ... and what do you do when somebody violates the law? You fight against it," Peres said. "You stop them. We shall not remain indifferent and tell them, 'Do what you want.'"

Asked how far Israel would go to secure Syria's chemical arsenal, Peres simply said: "Until it will stop being a danger."

The conflict in Syria has already led to nearly 80,000 Syrians fleeing to neighboring Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Iraq, according to U.N. relief agencies. So far, none have sought refuge in Israel - and Peres said Israel wants to keep control of its borders amid the crisis wracking its longtime foe.

"What will happen if Syrian refugees try to cross the Israeli border? Will you help them?" CNN asked Peres.

"No," he replied.

"Will you shoot them?"

"We will prevent them. I mean, you don't go straight to the rifle. There are other means to prevent them. We should prevent it. Because it will be a double tragedy for them and for us. They will become homeless and we shall become defenseless."

"If the Syrians start to come over the border, will you stop them by force?"

"First of all, until now none of them asked to come in," Peres said. "If they will come by force, we shall stop them by force. If they shall come in without force, we shall stop them the way any country defended her border with civilian means."

When CNN noted that the potential refugees are trying to escape bloodshed in their own country, not invade Israel, Peres said, "If they want to escape, they first of all have to appeal, ask for permission. None of them did it."

With Israel facing a potential influx of refugees, Peres said although no Syrians have tried to enter the country, Israel would not help any refugees who want to cross the border and would use force against any armed individuals.

"If they will come by force, we shall stop them by force," Peres said. "If they shall come in without force, we shall stop them the way any country defended her border with civilian means."

Peres spoke a day after Israel marked the 40th anniversary of the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, Germany, where 11 Israeli athletes and coaches were killed.

While he wouldn't go into details, Peres said Israel was taking precautions to ensure Israeli athletes would not be targeted at the London Olympic Games, which start later this week. He argued, however, that if Israeli intelligence services been at Munich, they would probably have been able to prevent the attack.

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soundoff (1,031 Responses)
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    May 31, 2020 at 8:05 am | Reply
  2. NYC Fitness Event

    Just a imagine a world were Iran and North Korea have new leadership and a free elections. It's like a dream come true for the world.
    I personal think we have many more wars ahead of us.

    January 31, 2014 at 12:28 pm | Reply
  3. Jim Kane

    I look at my 9 and 10 year old sons everyday and realize they will probably die in a Persian dessert thanks to Israel. Iran, north Korea and Russia will leave us alone if we leave them alone. What disgusting neocons we have in our congress to let this happen to the American people. I respect Obama for doing his best to keep us out of it. To bad no one else will tell the chosen ones to buzz off.

    July 29, 2013 at 12:52 am | Reply
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  5. taxi

    You could certainly see your expertise in the paintings you write. The world hopes for even more passionate writers such as you who aren't afraid to mention how they believe. At all times go after your heart.

    November 10, 2012 at 8:01 pm | Reply
  6. william j. penn

    Who ae we kidding? Isreal can defend itseld, we are in no position to have another war in the middle east. America is for Americans and we are NOT the POLICE FORCE for the entire world. Our country should not get involved in Isreali and Iran conflicts, and of course Iran should not threaten us or our bases. If they do, them we are justified in a full retailitory strike to protect ourselves. Think about that Iran.

    October 22, 2012 at 2:42 am | Reply
    • Matthew Thullum

      Iran is a dangerous terrorist state and therefore should not be allowed to acquire nuclear arms because they will use it to destroy Israel and sponsor terrorism across the world. Israel is capable of dealing with Iran. Israel should take a quick military action on Iran and force her to stop its nuclear programme. We will never allow Iran to become a nuclear state. A nuclear Iran will also mean a nuclear Hezbolla, a nuclear Hamas, a nuclear Islamic jihad and a nuclear Al Qaeda. Military strike is the only solution to Iran's nuclear programme. Endless economic sanctions will never cripple Iran. Their leader Ayatolla Khameni had vowed never to abandon their nuclear programme despite the many sanctions slammed on them by U.S and the west. Military action should be quickly taken because time is running out.

      October 29, 2012 at 11:00 am | Reply
      • sahardehghanib@gmail.com

        Iran doesn't work with Al Qaeda! Just sayin'
        Sent from my BlackBerry® smartphone on O2

        October 29, 2012 at 11:09 am |
      • Richard

        Retard its the US who used nukes on 2 citys killing millions of civilians aka the biggest terrorist attack in human history

        So shut up nazi supporter

        November 17, 2012 at 11:46 am |
  7. david duncan

    the us has a rude awaking due. officially, we snub israel,make lame excuses about a film and are getting unrealiable with our allies. the basis for the palestinian probelm is BS. using same logic much of jordan,lebeon, some of syria and egypt would be returned to israel. having a much older claim- remember the jews and christians predate by many 100's yrs. before there were any islamists they became a faith after 630 AD.

    September 23, 2012 at 11:51 pm | Reply
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  9. AngryJew

    The real terrorist are this man on the video and the rest of the gang leading Apartheid Israel.

    September 1, 2012 at 4:44 pm | Reply
    • AngryJew

      with a few exceptions, I might add...

      September 1, 2012 at 4:45 pm | Reply
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    August 31, 2012 at 5:34 am | Reply
  11. aingkasep

    Why can't he let his fellow countrymen go it alone in eliminating the extential threat posed by the evil Iran? Iran surely would not have been an enemy of the US had the AIPAC had not existed.
    The world's sole superpower enslaved by the most powerful and the richest yet tiny portion of her population who have strong attachment to their promised land is reminiscent of past great empires in slow yet steady decline. Why can't AIPAC and the likes espouses vigorously the two-state solution for the Palestinians and Israelis living side by side peacefuly instead of pushing its slave politicians to beat the war drums?

    August 23, 2012 at 10:39 pm | Reply
    • ApplePienallthatisNice

      It is not just AIPAC and the Jewish lobby that has our foreign policy hostage, it is also the Christian Zionists and other looney people who believe the end of the world crap.

      August 26, 2012 at 5:22 pm | Reply
  12. AngryJew

    The biggest threat to peace in the ME is Israel. The lady asked Peres such hard questions, wow, I am very unimpressed.

    August 22, 2012 at 7:36 pm | Reply
  13. Lance

    There are tens of millions of Americans who are homeless or are facing foreclosures or who have lost their jobs,, there are tens of millions of American children living on food stamps, there are tens of thousands of schools, highways, bridges et al that need to be repaired in the US, and Israel-Firsters keep on demanding that WE, The American Taxpayer, continue to pay this parasitic leeching welfare state called IsraHell while needy Americans are desperate.
    And now these Israel-Firster politicians are going to force ordinary Americans to pay more money for gas with their stupid focus on fighting wars against other countries for IsraHell’s benefit!!!!
    These AIPAC politicians from both the Republican and Democratic Parties are ready to sell out the USA for their "PRECIOUS" Israel (said like Golem in the Lord of The Rings)!!!!
    Like most most American politicians from both the Democratic and Republican parties who have simply become slaves of the American Israel Public Affairs Committtee (AIPAC), these so-called USA politicians have their tongues slavishly buried so far up where the sun doesn't shine in the backside of AIPAC that they  won't say squat about why IsraHell (who Israel-Firsters constantly claim is so economically great and advanced and such a success and blah blah blah....), continues to feed off the trough of America like some sort of leech for fifty plus years to a cost amounting to hundreds of billions of dollars ($5 billion plus per year), and still counting!!!.
    After all, if IsraHell is as successful as Israel-Firsters claim that it is, then it is only reasonable to expect that it will be able to stand on its own instead of coming cap in hand like a street corner hobo demanding never-ending charity from WE THE AMERICAN TAXPAYERS without any end in sight.  Over the last fifty years, IsraHell has received billions of dollars annually to an amount in the hundreds of billions if not trillions of dollars!!
     After all, if countries of comparable size to IsraHell like Sweden and Norway are all making it on their own without needing or asking for American aid then so should that parasitic leech of a state.. 
    Logically, the tax dollars of hard-working Americans should be reserved for truly needy Americans or perhaps third world countries like Ethiopia, Angola, and so on and not a so-called successful nation like Israel is (as Israel-Firsters constantly claim Israel is!!!!). 
    Ohhhh well, I guess Israel-Fisrters from AIPAC have so well corrupted America's body politic that Americans have only started to notice how Israel-Firster politicians from both the Democratic and Republican parties have betrayed America and its values to such an extent that their tongues have turned blue like IsraeHell’s flag….it looks like these politicians’ actual allegiance is to Israel and not to America!!!

    August 19, 2012 at 1:47 am | Reply
    • Ranger830

      I can agree with you on most points,however did you know we the American taxpayer give more to Pakistan than Isreal every year? Im just sayin!!!! I think Isreal is a big girl now and should be able to stand on her own two feet! Agreed?

      August 20, 2012 at 2:21 pm | Reply
  14. Michelle Smith

    Why can't we send both Israel and Iran to Uranus and be done with them?

    August 15, 2012 at 9:53 pm | Reply
  15. qwerty

    Yes, the Jews stole the land fair and square just ask there lawyers

    August 15, 2012 at 4:01 pm | Reply
    • Grand Poobah

      Are you a Native American?

      August 15, 2012 at 4:25 pm | Reply
      • sawolf

        Nobody is a Native American, they just emigrated earlier.

        August 16, 2012 at 5:41 am |
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  17. Larry

    As rude and abrasive as this interviewer was to a visiting President of one of the US's best and reliable allies, Peres was equally calm, confident, and told the truth exactly the way it is. The interviewer tried to badger the President, and every time she did, he took the high road and would not give her the tongue lashing he is perfectly capable of delivering. Bottom line, President Peres came across as the statesman he is, and she–well lose the interviewer CNN. She came across looking like a 5 year old sulking because she couldn't upset daddy.

    August 10, 2012 at 11:32 pm | Reply
    • AngryJew

      Israel can not be trusted. It is a backstabbing nation.

      August 13, 2012 at 2:00 am | Reply
  18. ProudAmerican

    Israel should give back the land it has stolen. Seems like the rightful owners want it back.

    August 10, 2012 at 4:08 pm | Reply
    • Larry

      The rightful owners are the Jews. The first and second temple remains and artifacts proves the history of Israel, dating back to biblical times. The Jews have lived in what is now Israel for thousands of years before Islam was born. And you want to tell me about rights. Try on an education first.

      August 10, 2012 at 11:36 pm | Reply
      • JohnnyRebel

        You are an ignorant moron. These false occupiers of stolen Palestine lands are not genetically related to the Biblical Israelites. Most of the Jews in Israel today are descendants of Europeans who had converted to Judaism in the Middle Ages (known as Khazar or Ashkenazi Jews). This is NOT the Ashkenazi Jew historical homeland.

        October 24, 2012 at 10:20 pm |
    • AngryJew

      The early Hebrews murdered the Canaanites and stole their land. The Hebrews were not the first occupants of Historic Palestine. Read your history. I am sure that the tribes are also mentioned in the funny book called the Bible as well.

      August 12, 2012 at 5:12 pm | Reply
      • sparnili

        zionist never existed as a state and for 60 years has occupied Palestinian.

        August 21, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
    • I Paid Attention....

      I do belive histroy has always show that RIGHTFUL owner of land is the one who can DEFEND it from others.... or should we give back ALL of the US back to, let me see now... France, England, Russia, and Mexico, and to Native Americans and Hawaiians.. (oOo, feel that burn the back of your mind..)

      August 13, 2012 at 6:49 pm | Reply
    • What

      And who would those "rightful" owners be? The Brits or the Turks? There is no valid Arab claim on the territory of any kind.

      August 14, 2012 at 8:45 am | Reply
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    August 9, 2012 at 6:47 pm | Reply
    • AngryJew

      If you don't like reading about Israeli crimes you can go to the New Age forum. You are wasting our time.

      August 10, 2012 at 4:12 pm | Reply
      • Larry

        And what "Israeli crimes" are you referring to? Please do tell me. I'd love to hear about them. Then I'll really enjoy debunking any imagined crimes you will try to invent. Talk about wasting people's time–perhaps you should take your own advice. Or do a lot of research, learn the truth then come back and tell us what crimes Israel has been or is committing. I can't wait. Smart minnows don't swim with the sharks.

        August 10, 2012 at 11:48 pm |
      • Tom

        The Jews have been in Israel and Jerusalem for over 3,000 yrs! Fact.. 1,000 yrs before Jesus Christ, King David and the Jews controlled and lived in Jerusalem and Israel. FACT: Islam was formed 622 years AFTER the death of Jesus Christ! Islam started in Saudia Arabia and Mohammed attached the Jews and Christians because they refused to believe he was a new prophet or had a new message from the God of the Jews and Christians. The Palestians are Arabs of Jordan, Egypt, Syria and Lebannon who fougth against the Jews and lost. These same nations refused to take them in so Arafat and his terrorist attacked Jordan, King Hussein defeated them and kicked them out of Jordan. They tried taking over Lebannon and were defeated, then the Arab leaders allowed them to try and take over Israel and they lost again. This liberal lie about the PLO "owning" or reclaiming their land is a lie! Their has neve been a Palestian people or nation in the history of man. The word Palestine cam from the Romans who conquered Israel in 70 AD! The changed the name from Israel to "Palestine" in order to stamp out the Jews. This is fact.. please do not believe the media.. READ!!!

        August 16, 2012 at 9:41 am |
  20. patrick b

    israel ought to be sympathetic, why not allow in refugees from syria,they want to carry on hatrade for centuries and centuries.

    August 3, 2012 at 2:08 pm | Reply

    Lets allow Iran to obtain nuclear weapons, and wait until they use it on
    an european or american city. By then it will be too late.

    Muslims hate the west, historically because of the crusades. Iran has a plan to islamize
    france and even the U.S.





    August 2, 2012 at 8:16 pm | Reply
    • mickey1313

      Zionist propiganda. 1st, chernobal didnt cause the colapse of the USSR, america outspending them in the cold war caused that. 2nd, Iran does not have ICBM tech. THEY CANNOT HIT AMERICA. This is nothing more then zionist propaganda to get america to spend more of our hard earned tax dollars to defend this theocracy. It is disgusting.

      August 10, 2012 at 12:34 am | Reply
      • Larry

        Oh really? Iran doesn't threaten the US with a nuke?

        Here's a scenario for you that has been making the news rounds in the last year. Ever hear of an EMP? (Electromagnetic Pulse) If Iran were to borrow an old cargo rust-bucket, equip it to carry and fire two missiles, sail it into the Gulf of Mexico, and fire off a single missile over the midsection of the US–the EMP would destroy everything that runs on electricity for hundreds of miles and all direction of the explosion.

        Car computer chips, all computers and smart phones, nothing electronic will work. Not even our military, which runs on electricity. One result of such an attack which is well withing Iran's means (yes, they do have ballistic missiles, just tested the newest ones a couple of days ago–all nuclear capable) would be, at the very least, the near total destruction of the infrastructure of the US, and pretty much sending us back to the stone-age.

        I don't want that, do you?

        August 11, 2012 at 12:01 am |
  22. Scott R

    "He argued, however, that if Israeli intelligence services been at Munich, they would probably have been able to prevent the attack." Why is it that I feel like I could do a way better job than 80% of CNN's editors? I mean how does nobody notice this when they're reading this over. Also, "He argued, however, that if Israeli intelligence services been at Munich, they would probably have been able to prevent the attack" is repeated. When the people in charge of the news can't even write right, it is a sad day.

    August 1, 2012 at 1:26 am | Reply
    • ProudAmerican

      If you support Israel over America you are a traitor. Israel is the enemy of America.

      August 2, 2012 at 1:17 pm | Reply
      • JohnnyRebel

        I agree with you completely. Israel is the biggest rogue terrorist state on the planet earth. They are responsible for more assassinations and terror plots than all other countries in the world combined. International law and civility mean nothing to modern day Israel. The Lavon Affair and the USS Liberty incident prove that Israel is the real enemy of the American public, not Iran. The biggest threat to world peace is the Terrorist State of Israel. Why doesn't the USA sanction Israel for having nukes and refusing to sign the Non-proliferation Agreement????

        October 24, 2012 at 10:37 pm |
    • Don

      Fairly messed up sentence with only conjecture. If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.

      August 9, 2012 at 9:52 pm | Reply
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