Former Israeli prime minister Shimon Peres urged Israel on Tuesday to support Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, even though the Palestinian government is dominated by Hamas, Ha'aretz newspaper reported.
Peres was cited as saying that abandoning Abbas would leave the Palestinian National Authority(PNA) in the hands of extremists.
"I believe that we in Israel must support him (Abbas) because we cannot give up on the 50 percent of (Palestinians) who are moderate and say all of them are extremists," Peres said.
Israel should adopt a wait-and-see approach to give Abbas time to exert control over the PNA once Hamas forms a government, Peres was quoted as saying.
Peres, a 1994 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, is expected to be a senior cabinet minister if the centrist Kadima party wins Israel's March 28 general elections.
Hamas, or the Islamic Resistance Movement, defeated the long dominant Fatah movement in the Jan. 25 legislative elections and had the mandate to form the new cabinet.
Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni has publicly called Abbas "irrelevant."