SHARM EL-SHEIK, EGYPT: World leaders have gathered here in a show of support for Israel in the wake of the recent wave of suicide bombings. Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres said the one-day summit of 30 world leaders has "a dual purpose, to stop terror so as to enable the peace process to be continued." The Muslim militant group Hamas has claimed responsibility for the bombings, saying they are meant to derail peace talks between Israel and Palestinians. "The will of the people for peace is clearly greater than the forces of division," President Clinton said. "This summit of the peace-makers can be an important step in the process toward peace in the Middle East." The U.S. and Israel are expected to reach a security agreement at the summit, but details will not be known until Peres visits Washington next month. Clinton then headed to Israel, where he hopes to enhance Peres' prospects for winning election May 29 against the Likud opposition. "Politically it always helps an Israeli prime minister to be seen as close to and embraced by an American administration," TIME's Lisa Beyer says. Notably missing from the summit is Syrian President Hafez Assad. According to the official Syrian Arab News Agency, Syria is skipping the summit because it is "a fait accompli, endorsing Israel's views and serving Israel's interest at the expense of the Arabs." However, TIME's Scott MacLeod says that might not be the only reason for Assad to skip the summit. "President Assad is looking after his political interests. Many radical groups, including Hamas, are supported by Syria and participating in the summit would open Assad to criticism by other countries."