Israeli President Shimon Peres after a meeting on Capitol Hill April 6, 2011 in Washington, DC
Abbas is the only one with legitimate authority, says recently retired Israeli president

Gaza belongs to Mahmoud Abbas, and must be returned to him, recently retired Israeli President Shimon Peres told reporters on Wednesday after visiting wounded soldiers in Beersheba.

"In diplomacy, there is one rule: legitimacy. Gaza belongs to Mahmoud Abbas, he is the only one with legitimate authority, and the agreement was signed with him. Gaza was stolen from him. The best thing to do is return it to him. He has proven that he knows how to lead, and he can save Gaza, with the help of Egypt and the Arab world."

"This war is characterized by one thing," Peres continued. "There is no more Arab world against Israel. Hamas is more internationally isolated than Israel. The Arab world understands that the danger comes from extremists. They are dissolving one nation after another. Just yesterday, Libya fell."

"I think the war has exhausted itself and now we need to stop it. There is no real army in Gaza, no real government, every one speaks in a different voice. This will take a little time but it will end."

" I hope that at the end of the day the other side reaches the conclusion that the great victory will be to end this diplomatically and peacefully. No one benefits when a child is killled, Everyone benefits when children are able to sleep at night.``

"Therefore the solution is to return power to those who received it legally. The entire world needs to rehabilitate Gaza."

Peres also praised the bravery of the Israeli soldiers who had fought in Gaza.

"I think this is one of the most moving visits I have had in my life. It is a true story of bravery, not in the abstract, but of every single soldier."

"This is a war of the army against terrorism, but also a war of every soldier against a person who doesn't respect human life, who is ready to murder. A war of brave people against people who have no restraints. Wicked people who don't have pity even on themselves."

"The soldiers went straight into hell, because every footstep, every corner held someone lying in ambush, and they went in without complaint, there were no soldiers who did not fulfill their duty. There are some amazing tales of heroism."

"I think that what happened is very interesting. You don't need any propaganda. I have never seen the nation so loving and unified, so proud of our soldiers, so aware of the dangers they took upon themselves."


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