Israeli Official Praises Palestinian Leadership

Israeli Vice Premier Shimon Peres (search) praised the new Palestinian leadership Thursday for its opposition to terrorism as the two sides try to preserve a fragile truce.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Peres said that in the Middle East all victories "are finally political" and more is achieved with negotiations than with violence.

He cited the case of Egypt, from which Israel seized the Gaza Strip (search) in the 1967 Middle East war, and signed a peace accord in 1979.

Alluding to the truce announced last month by Israeli and Palestinian leaders to end four years of bloodshed, Peres said: "Finally the Palestinians came to the conclusion that terror brings them more damage than hope. The present leadership of the Palestinians ... are clearly against terror because it doesn't serve the Palestinians."

Peres was visiting Madrid to take part in an international conference on terrorism.

A suicide bombing Feb. 25 in Tel Aviv — blamed on the militant group Islamic Jihad — has threatened to undermine the Israeli-Palestinian truce.

Relations are also tense because of an impasse over Israel's transfer of West Bank towns to Palestinian control.