Katsav calls on settlers to obey gov't, asks their forgiveness
In unusual move, president's speech to the nation is broadcast on all TV and radio stations.
President Moshe Katsav spoke to the nation Wednesday evening to call on settlers to obey government decisions, and asked their forgiveness in the name of the state for compelling them to move.
"After a year of tough struggles and intense discussions, the time has come," Katsav told residents of the Gaza Strip and northern West Bank in his speech. "You must respect the decisions of the national authorities: the Knesset and the government."
He also asked the public and the government to preserve national unity and democratic values in the speech - which, in an unusual move, was broadcast live on all television and radio stations.
"I know you abide by the law and by ethics," Katsav said from the President's Residence. "But the acts of extremists weaken your positions, damage the goal for which you are fighting, and distance public support from you."
Katsav called on settlers to maintain control over their anti-pullout struggle and refrain from violating accepted boundaries - and asked their forgiveness.
"I identify with your pain," Katsav said. "We know you moved there based on your conscience and the decision of Israeli governments... In the name of the State of Israel, we ask forgiveness from you, the residents, for the demand that you leave after dozens of years of building and sacrifice."