Israel cannot be punished twice, the vice premier said, referring to the ongoing Qassam threat to the country on the one hand, and the restrictions imposed on settlers on the other.
The settlers' children cannot be stopped from building their homes, Peres added, saying that this issue is one of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's major problems, a problem that preoccupied former Prime Ministers Yitzhak Rabin, Ehud Barak and Menachem Begin in the past.
Peres made the statements in the course of a press conference at the Ritz Hotel during his London visit. He expressed hope that after Prime Minister Tony Blair retires from his post he would return to the Middle East to promote the peace process in the region.
The vice premier stated that Israel appreciates Blair's good relations with the Palestinians, as well as with other countries, and that he personally would be happy to see the British PM involved in Mideast issues, as he is a man who sincerely desires to see peace in the region.
During the press conference, Peres stressed that Prime Minister Olmert would not meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas before the Israeli kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit is freed by his captors.
However, he said that on the day after Shalit's release such a meeting could materialize, and that many prisoners would be freed as a goodwill gesture.
Speaking about his vision for the Middle East, Peres said that in an era of global economy, he wished to see an economic project that would operate in parallel to the diplomatic process and work to create employment and capital in the region.
Such a project would reinforce common interests, and create regional interests that would diminish the likelihood for war in the future. He said that terror groups would avoid from targeting an initiative that improves the regional economy.