President Shimon Peres called for Israel to assess its place in the region in the wake of the latest round of fighting with Hamas Thursday, saying the conflict proved the need for diplomacy.
Israel and Hamas agreed to a ceasefire Wednesday to end a week of fierce fighting, promising to halt air strikes and rocket attacks that have killed scores and to discuss easing Israel’s blockade on the Strip.
“The military chapter ended, bringing about a new political situation, and now we have to start taking care of the next chapter — the future of our relations with the Arab world in the Middle East,” Peres said during a meeting with the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.
“The fire stopped and Hamas reached the conclusion that it achieves nothing,” the president added.
The president praised his Egyptian counterpart, Mohammed Morsi, for his efforts in brokering the ceasefire. “I think he showed the qualities of statesmanship and leadership, working judiciously towards a truce,” Peres said.
Peres also thanked US President Barack Obama for “his efforts in extinguishing the flames, and his assistance in the construction of the missile defense shield that provided protection to the citizens of Israel, the Iron Dome.”
The Conference of Presidents of Jewish Organizations initiated the meet with Peres to convey its support for the citizens of Israel.
Peres opened the meeting expressing his condolences to the family of Boris Yarmolnik, a 28-year-old reserve officer who died earlier in the day after sustaining critical injuries from rocket fire on Wednesday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report