By The Associated Press

DAVOS, Switzerland – Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel, one of the leading voices of Jewish conscience, said yesterday that Hamas should be accepted as long as it renounced its goal of destroying Israel.

“Forgiveness will be, I think, the next step, but first they must ask for forgiveness, and for the moment they are not ready to do that,” said the Holocaust survivor and author, speaking with The Associated Press at the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting.

“First they must renounce the policy and the ideology of destroying a neighbor state,” he said. “I hope the international community will prevail and tell Hamas to change.”

Wiesel said he was despondent about the result of last week’s vote in the West Bank and Gaza, which gave Hamas a strong majority in the Palestinian parliament.

“Everybody’s shocked,” he said. “What worries me is that, after all, it shows that the overwhelming majority of the Palestinians voted for Hamas, whose main principle is the destruction of Israel.”