Moshe Katsav: 'We ask forgiveness for the demand that you leave'

From a speech by the President of Israel directed at the settlers being removed from the Gaza strip and parts of the West Bank, broadcast on Israeli televison
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In the name of the State of Israel, we ask forgiveness from you for the demand that you leave after years of sacrifice. You have the right to protest, but that right does not justify violence and illegal activities. You must endorse the security forces. They are carrying out a national mission. Please help the soldiers, they act out of rightfulness and innocence.

You must respect the decisions of the national institutions, the government and the Knesset. The acts of extremists weaken your position, damage the goal for which you are fighting, and reduce public support. The trauma of the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin is with us every day, and the world is watching us. Those who hate Israel are hoping to divide us. Until now, we have overcome tough battles thanks to our unity. Let us preserve that.

We must not resort to describing withdrawals in destructive terms. The disengagement plan does not end your Zionist dreams. You said that "love will triumph". And you were right. Despite the fractured dream, love must win. We must strive for a mending of the wounds, constructive dialogue and a search for consensus. After all, that which unites us is greater than that which divides us.

We should prepare for other battles waiting for us. The real fight is over the eastern border - this is well known even by those who oppose the pullout. With God's help, we will be able to overcome the difficulties and to achieve the desired purpose: security and peace.

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