Peres to Hollande: Palestinian state needed for democratic, Jewish state

Former president meets with French president in Paris after EU court rules to remove Hamas from European Union terror list.

Shimon Peres meets French president Hollande
Former president Shimon Peres met French President Francois Hollande at the Elysee Palace in Paris on Thursday.
The meeting came after an EU court ruled on Wednesday that the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas should be removed from the EU's terrorist list. The court ruled that EU member states could keep Hamas's assets frozen for three further months in case of further review or an appeal.
"As you know, the court decided for procedural reasons that Hamas should be out of the black list. I don't want to argue with the judges because I think in case of terror, the victims should judge and not the judges should judge the victims. So that's our view. But I was glad that president (Hollande) says 'I don't want to intervene in the procedures of the court but that does not affect or change the position and the view of France concerning Hamas'," Peres told journalists following the meeting.
Hamas welcomed the verdict to remove the group from the terrorist list. The group contested the 2001 decision to include it as it says it is a legitimate resistance movement.
The EU court did not consider whether Hamas should be classified as a terror group but instead reviewed the original decision to include it, which it says did not consult competent authorities but instead relied on media reports.
The European Parliament has approved a non-binding resolution supporting Palestinian statehood.
After his meeting with Hollande, Peres called for the international community to invest its efforts in advancing the diplomatic process and dialogue, not in supporting unilateral actions such as the trend in various European governments and parliaments to recognize a Palestinian statehood.
"We are in favor of the creation of a Palestinian state and maintaining Israel as a Jewish, Democratic state - the debate is about how to reach that goal of a Palestinian state," he said. "We think that in order to have a democratic and Jewish state, we need a Palestinian state as well."
"Only an agreed solution will last in the long term," Peres stressed.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu calls Hamas "a murderous terrorist organization". Hamas controls the Gaza Strip and its founding charter calls for the destruction of Israel, which it has battled frequently.
Many western countries say Hamas is a terrorist organization, pointing to years of indiscriminate rocket strikes out of Gaza and waves of suicide attacks. Staff contributed to this report.