“You can’t give Palestinian children Qassams for breakfast…..”
- Shimon Peres on Hamas

Published: 30 September 2007
Briefing Number 202

Click to Printclick here to print page

More and more voices are calling for ‘engagement' with Hamas (see Beyond Images Briefing 201).

So it is timely to highlight the view of Hamas held by Israeli President Shimon Peres, who is a long-standing advocate of peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, and a two-state solution.

In a meeting with Austrian Chancellor Alfred Gusenbauer in early September 2007, Shimon Peres said the following (reported on Ynet – www.ynetnews.com - 3 September):-

“Hamas is a religious fanatic organisation that does not want a Palestinian state for its people, but wants to impose the dangerous religious hegemony that is taking over the entire Middle East and gives a green light to killing innocent people in its name…. The actions of Hamas harm both the Israeli and Palestinian people….

…. Hamas has one goal – to destroy the State of Israel …. Seven rockets fell today and almost killed our children. It's an intolerable situation and there is one address for it – Hamas. There is a limit to how much Israel is willing to tolerate. While Israel is making great efforts to reach peace with the Palestinians it has a greater duty to protect the lives of its citizens and children….”

Days later, in an interview with the Jerusalem Post (published on 12 September 2007 – see www.jpost.com ) Peres said the following:-

“Why is Hamas firing Qassams from Gaza ? We left Gaza . We took out the settlements. We took the army out. There is no Israeli presence. What do they want? What do they want to achieve? They don't want to achieve anything. They want to destroy. Their ideology is the ideology of destruction – to destroy everything modern and to establish religious hegemony in the Middle East . More than they are fighting for a Palestinian state, they are working for religious hegemony, for the hegemony of a single religion.

But they have no chance, because they don't offer a future to anyone. Not even to their own people.

And in Gaza you can now see people asking: “What does Hamas want from us?” You cannot give the children Qassams for breakfast….”

They thought that they'd fire on Israel , the world would pay, and the Palestinian public would support them. But the world won't fund terrorism, and the Palestinians, even if they wanted to, cannot live like this…..”

Key messages

Engagement with Hamas undermines a two-state solution. And it would harm the interests of Israelis and Palestinians.

Further Beyond Images resources

See the section headed ‘Hamas' under All Briefings