Former president Shimon Peres on Wednesday challenged the international community to forcefully express its opposition to Hamas’s presence in the Gaza Strip and to strip the Islamist group of its armaments.

“The world needs to decide whether it’s ready for a terrorist state in Gaza or not,” Peres said in an interview with BBC World.

“Reconciling with terrorism in Gaza will be a tragedy for the Middle East and the entire world. Israel wants peace and believes in negotiations while Hamas –both philosophically and practically – proves that it is opposed to peace, opposed to talks, and in favor of terrorism.”

The former president said Israel had made compromises in Gaza – a reference to the 2005 withdrawal of its military and settlers from the Strip – but that it received terrorism in return.

“Gaza could have developed and thrived,” Peres said. “We don’t understand why Hamas chose the path of terrorism and rockets on innocent Israeli citizens over the path of peace and prosperity for the Palestinian people.”

Peres called for the international community to ratify a document that would mandate the demilitarization of Gaza while also reinstalling Palestinian Authority chief Mahmoud Abbas as its sole, legitimate ruler.

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