Former president Shimon Peres advocated turning to diplomatic means to halt the fighting as he visited some of the 26 wounded soldiers hospitalized at the Soroka University Medical Center in Beersheba on Wednesday.
Peres again expressed his confidence in Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas as a reliable partner for peace, and commended him for speaking out in opposition to Hamas rocket fire against Israel and for trying to influence negotiations toward a cease-fire.
There have been significant changes in the Arab world, he said, and the whole of the Arab world is no longer against Israel. The Arab world, he noted, is turning against Hamas, because it realizes that Hamas is a terrorist organization that is bent on conquest and destruction.
While praising the courage of the soldiers, Peres said that Operation Protective Edge has exhausted itself, and a way must be found to stop it, and proposed turning to diplomatic routes to end the fighting.
There is no proper government in Gaza, and many different voices are emanating from it without any clear policy other than a desire to destroy Israel, he said, adding that given the state of chaos in Gaza, it must be returned to Abu Mazen (Abbas).
During his last two weeks as president, Peres said on several occasions that even though he was stepping down from the presidency, he was not retiring from his quest for peace, and implied similar sentiments in his farewell address at the Knesset last week.
While Peres was visiting the wounded, President Reuven Rivlin is continuing to pay condolence calls to families of slain soldiers. In less than a week, Rivlin has made approximately 20 such visits, and has several more on his agenda for Thursday and Friday.