'Put pressure on Hamas, not Israel'

Peres tells Austrian chancellor: Flotillas are the work of Iran.

Peres Faymann 311 (photo credit: GPO)
Peres Faymann 311
(photo credit: GPO)
Austria should pressure Hamas to change its policy, rather than Israel, President Shimon Peres told his counterpart from Vienna on Thursday at Beit Hanassi.
Peres went on to tell Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann that the flotillas aiming to break the blockade on the Gaza Strip, were the work of Iran, via proxy groups Hamas and Hizbullah.
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Nonetheless, the president thanked Austria for its support of newly imposed sanctions on Iran.
In response, Faymann said that Austria wants to see the removal of the Gaza blockade, Israel's security must be protected. He stressed that living conditions for Palestinians in Gaza must be improved.
Regarding the peace process, Faymann called for a renewal of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.
The Jerusalem meeting came the day after Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyhau called on the world to intervene and prevent a boatful of women from Lebanon from sailing to Gaza, saying there was no reason for these boats and that Israel had lifted its restrictions on what was allowed into Gaza.
Speaking during a joint press appearance with Faymann, Netanyahu noted the irony that Iran, Hizbullah and Hamas – not exactly champions of women’s rights – were sending a female flotilla to Gaza.
“Iran, Hizbullah and Hamas, which want to return the world to the middle ages; which don’t let their women dress, work or express themselves freely; whose women live in subjugation, and sometimes without basic rights and subject to violence – precisely those regimes are the ones organizing a boat of women as propaganda against Israel,” he said.
Herb Keinon contributed to this report