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Despite his switch to Kadima, former Labor Party prime minister Shimon Peres asserted Thursday that he had not betrayed Labor's ideals, he had merely changed the frame.
At a meeting with the Foreign Press Association in Jerusalem, Peres was asked how he felt about running for the Knesset on a list other than Labor, after having invested so much of his life in the party.
"I'm more Labor than before," he replied. "I didn't change my ideals, I changed the frame - like changing the frame on a painting. I only divorced the frame."
Even though Kadima will not enter into negotiations with a Hamas-led government unless the organization ceases its terrorist activities, recognizes Israel's right to exist and honors agreements signed by Israel and the Palestinian Authority, Peres has not abandoned his conviction that eventually Israelis and Palestinians will exist in peaceful cooperation.
Peres, who was a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1994 for his contribution to the Oslo Accords, was asked whether he still believed that peace was possible.
"One hundred percent," he declared. "Alas, it has taken more time than I thought."
Although unwilling talk to Hamas under prevailing circumstances, Peres was well-disposed to speaking with PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen).
"We talked and we shall talk with Abu Mazen," he said. "The question is how much power he will have to represent the Palestinians. We will talk with him. We will not boycott him."