Peres gets tough on Hamas with Norwegian FM

President Shimon Peres met with co-chairmen of the Middle East Committee of the Socialist International, Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr-Store and Secretary of the Italian Democratic Party of the Left Piero Fassino on Monday. Peres had planned to lambast the Norwegian foreign minister over Norway's contacts with Hamas and Hizbullah, but was stopped in his tracks when Gahr-Store told him that Norway had severed contact with Hamas during the period of the Palestinian unity government. Gahr-Store was responding to Peres's remark that Norway must take a clear and forceful stand against Hamas. Nonetheless, Peres did make the point that it was important to clarify to Hamas that no nation [in the free world] would finance terror or the firing of rockets at Sderot and Gaza-belt communities. It was essential to emphasize that neither the Socialist International nor the international community condoned terror or the violation of democracy through the use of violence as practiced by Hamas said Peres, who also noted the Hamas connection with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and Hizbullah in Lebanon. There were also indications, he added, that Hamas was affiliated with al-Qaida.