Peres re­jects Ha­mastalks

The Jewish Chronicle - - WORLD NEWS - BY AN­SHEL PF­EF­FER

PRES­I­DENT SHI­MON Peres reaf­firmed Is­rael’s re­fusal to deal with Ha­mas in a spe­cial press con­fer­ence for Is­rael’s 60th an­niver­sary.

Mr Peres said that “talk­ing to Ha­mas is like talk­ing to the wall. If it wasn’t for Ha­mas and its crim­i­nal be­hav­iour, the Pales­tini­ans long ago would have a state. You must not for­get that we left Gaza and the area, and all the time, Ha­mas is shoot­ing at women and chil­dren in Is­rael. We don’t want to hurt in­no­cent pop­u­la­tion, we trans­fer food, fuel and medicine to the pop­u­la­tion in Gaza, but we can­not over­look the fact that Ha­mas is caus­ing great harm to its peo­ple.”

De­spite reaf­firm­ing his be­lief in the foun­da­tion of a Pales­tinian state, he re­fused to be drawn on de­tails of where the new state borders might be or on a fu­ture so­lu­tion in Jerusalem.

He also com­mented on the re­cent re­ports of talks be­tween Is­rael and Syria, say­ing: “If Da­m­as­cus wants to talk, Is­rael is also in­ter­ested. Is­rael is will­ing to pay a price as it did in the past.”

Mr Peres also said that he does not favour a mil­i­tary strike against Iran. “But we have to set up quickly and res­o­lutely an in­ter­na­tional a strong and ag­gres­sive in­ter­na­tional coali­tion of the world’s na­tions that will put heavy eco­nom­i­cal sanc­tions on Iran. Iran’s ef­forts to gain nu­clear arms should worry the en­tire world.”

Mr Peres be­gan his ad­dress to the 120 re­porters rep­re­sent­ing ma­jor me­dia or­gan­i­sa­tions with his own sum­mary of the state’s his­tory. He ex­pressed won­der that de­spite agree­ing to the UN par­ti­tion plan, and be­ing at­tacked by seven Arab armies, “the three ma­jor pow­ers, the United States, Bri­tain and France, re­fused to sell us ri­fles”.

When asked what he be­lieved to be his ma­jor achieve­ments, he listed forg­ing the al­liance with France in the 1950s and 1960s, which al­lowed Is­rael to build its armed forces and mil­i­tary in­dus­try.

Asked whether he thought all the Jews of the world should live in Is­rael, he said: “We can’t make any­one live in Is­rael, but if some­one wants to live to the full Jewish sense and her­itage, that is only pos­si­ble in Is­rael.”

PHOTO: AP

Peres speaks at the con­fer­ence

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