'Who Knows What Peace Is, Kids?'

President Shimon Peres toured towns and villages surrounding the Gaza Strip yesterday, and was briefed by military officials on the situation in the Qassam-stricken area.

The tour included a number of meetings with civilians as well as briefings by security forces officials.

At one of Peres' planned stops at Kibbutz Nir Oz, a group of kindergarten children waiving Israeli flags waited hours in the sun for his arrival. When he finally arrived, security officials led him in the opposite direction. much to the children's dismay.

Peres later met with them inside their classroom, where the kindergarten teacher read out a text she had written. After she had finished, the children from the kibbutz and surrounding villages age three to six answered questions by the octogenarian Peres.

Peres asked the preschoolers why Gazan Palestinians were firing Qassams against them, to which the children responded "because they want our land." One girl suggested Israel gives them "a little" land so that the fighting stops. "Perhaps," Peres said, smiling.

During the tour, Israel Defense Forces officials told Peres that Hamas had firmly established its control over the Gaza Strip since its violent takeover last year. They told the president that Hamas had managed to develop more advanced weapons capabilities thanks to massive amounts of funds channeled by Iran to the Islamic organization.

According to the IDF, last week's accidental blast in Gaza proves that the Islamic organization has amassed huge amounts of explosives.