JERUSALEM, Jan. 6 (UPI) -- Israeli President Shimon Peres says Europe needs to "open its eyes" on the threat posed by Palestinian terrorists when criticizing Israel's actions in Gaza.
Speaking in Jerusalem Tuesday with Czech Republic Foreign Minister Karl Schwarzenberg, Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt and European Union Commissioner for External Relations Benita Ferraro-Waldner, Peres said, "Europe needs to open its eyes with respect to the fighting in Gaza," The Jerusalem Post reported.
Calling the Palestinian militant group Hamas "a terror organization of the worst order," Peres chided the Europeans for criticizing the scale of Israel's military actions in Gaza, which came as a response to hundreds of rockets and mortars launched from Gaza into Israel.
Peres blamed Hamas for the deaths of innocent civilians in the siege, saying the militants use them as human shields and adding, "Unfortunately the cost of Hamas' horrendous conduct is injury to innocent children," the Post said.
Ferraro-Waldner told Peres while every nation had the right to defend itself, Israel's actions in Gaza were disproportionate, saying, "We have met with the heads of international humanitarian organizations and delegations, and we were told that there is a serious problem in Gaza of distributing the delegations' shipments."