Peres: Public Will Rule on Any Deal Reached With Palestinians

In Herzliya Conference, Peres calls for unity during Gaza raids; Ashkenazi: Combat possible on many fronts.

President Shimon Peres said on Sunday that when a political agreement is reached between Israel and the Palestinians, it will be brought before the Israeli public before being signed.

"In my opinion, the government conducting the negotiations should formulate its opinion, and bring it before the people," Peres said in a speech at the eighth annual Herzliya Conference of the Institute for Policy and Strategy, which took place at the Knesset on Sunday.

"The plan would allow the people to truly vote. They are the way to deal with the opposition. It's not enough to criticize the conduct of the negotiations; [the opposition] should provide an alternative," Peres continued.

Peres also called on the public to join hands in the military effort against Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip, despite disagreements over diplomatic talks with the Palestinian Authority.

"Through judging the security situation in Gaza, we will reach a national agreement - an agreement that will include the means of responding [to terror] and the protection and treatment of the needs of the residents. Gaza is a security problem more than it's a political problem, since nobody is considering resettling it."

Ashkenazi: There is a possibility of combat on more than one front

The IDF Chief of Staff, Gabi Ashkenazi, also spoke at the conference, and said that "the lessons learned from the Second Lebanon War bring us to the conclusion that a Middle East that is going through real processes stands before us, and there is a possibility of combat on more than one front."

Ashkenazi confirmed that "the IDF is prepared and will prepare its targets to defend the country before its too late - with or without an agreement."

Ashkenazi said that the IDF must deal with the threat of weapons of mass destruction, including Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons, and threats from terror and guerilla groups. He commented on the threats to the home front, specifically regarding the firing of Qassam rockets, noting that despite efforts, no perfect solution to stop the firing has been found.

"In the framework of all the combat conflicts there is at least one common ground - in every conflict, the threat to the home front increases and becomes an inseparable part of the front," he said. "In every face-to-face conflict, we left with the superior hand. This caused our enemies to strike Israel's underbelly."