Israeli vice premier, Shimon Peres, said during a press conference in
Ritz Hotel in London on Thursday morning that he supports settlement
construction and expansion in the occupied West Bank in order “to
provide houses for the settlers' children”.
The statements of Peres ignored the basic fact that these settlements are constructed in violation to the international law, and built in occupied territories on Palestinian orchards and lands Israel illegally annexed from the Palestinians.
Peres said that Israel “cannot be punished twice”, referring to Qassam homemade shells fired at Israeli areas and settlements adjacent to the Gaza Strip, and what he described as “restrictions” imposed on the settlers.
He called for more construction projects to build homes for settlers in the occupied West Bank.
“Settlers children cannot be prohibited from building their homes”, he added. While in Palestine, children and their families lost their lands for settlement construction and expansion, in addition to losing more lands for the construction of the Israeli Annexation Wall that snakes deep into the occupied West Bank to enable settlement expansion.
Also, Peres said that he hopes that the British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, would return to the Middle East to promote the peace process after he retires from his post. According to Peres, Blair has good relations with the Arabs and Palestinians.
Referring to the Abbas-Olmert meeting, Peres said that Israeli's Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert will not meet with the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, before the release of the captured Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit, by resistance fighters on Gaza.
Peres charged that the Hamas' leadership in Syria, headed by Khaled Mashal, is obstructing peace talks and said that Syria must pressure Hamas to resume the stalled peace negotiations.
Peres added the Syria missed the opportunity for peace with Israel when it refused to come to Camp David during the peace conference with the then Egyptian President, Anwar Sadaat.
“The Golan Heights would have already been in Syrian hands,” Peres said, “but the Syrians refuse peace, and they are hosting Mashal who is preventing the diplomatic advances”.
“Syria must pressure Hamas to hold talks with Israel”, he added.
Yet, Israel considers Hamas as a terrorist organization and refuses to hold talks with the movement. Hamas's official stance is that it will not recognize a state that is still occupying the Palestinian people and their right of independence and liberty.