On September 27, 2016 Shimon Peres, who served as president of Israel, died after suffering a stroke. As news of his death became public he was remembered as dovish worker “for peace in the Middle East.” The New York Times stated that he set “an example for forward thinking” and “envisioned [the] morals…being lived here today in Israel.” The Washington Post even published in his obituary that he was an “Israeli patriot who believed in peace.” Associated Press praised Mr. Peres “as a visionary who committed his life to the elusive goal of lasting peace in the Middle East.” To add insult to injury, he even received a Nobel Peace Prize and was awarded a Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama for his supposed acts of “peacemaking.” Yet if we review his history I highly doubt the term “peacemaker” will cross our minds.
Peres’s policies were inherently rejectionist in nature in that he never considered the creation of a self-governing Palestinian state based off Resolution 242. In May 1989 Shimon Peres “reaffirmed… that there could be no ‘additional Palestinian state’ …the fate of the territories will be settled ‘in accordance with the basic guidelines of the [Israeli] government.’” The rejection of a Palestinian state goes even further with the Peres government support of annexing and building Jewish Settlements in the West Bank. One of his council members explained “‘the government’s stand… is that as regards the Jerusalem areas…will be an integral part of Israel’s future map.” Reaffirming that “there is no doubt about this”.
Peres had to also ward off Palestinian pragmatism multiple times, declining multiple offers from the PLO for an establishment of a Palestinian state with major concessions. Shlomo Ben-Ami, former Israeli Foreign Minister, “proposed… the party endorse the idea of a Palestinian state—it was Shimon Peres who most vehemently opposed the idea. ”When Arafat renounced the Palestinian National Charter in May 1989, effectively giving up on the dream of a one-state solution, a former Israeli ambassador stated that it “failed to get a bite out of Peres and Rabin.”
Many praise Shimon for his role in the Oslo agreement, yet Dr. Norman Finkelstein, a political scientist, rebukes this fantasy: “Neither Yitzhak Rabin nor Shimon Peres conceived a Palestinian state emerging from the 1993 Oslo agreement.” So, much to my surprise, the supposed “peacemaker” everyone has been glorifying is nothing but another rejectionist politician who has never recognized Palestine’s right to exist.
Shimon Peres is not just a rejectionist, he’s also a war criminal. This Nobel Prize winner is directly responsible for the deaths of 170 Lebanese civilians and another 15 Tunisians. After the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin, Shimon Peres was “seeking re-election” by depicting himself as a “soldier statesman at war with Hezbollah.” Peres headed this raid, naming his little adventure in Lebanon “Operation Grapes of Wrath,” inspired from the Book of Deuteronomy.
Israel conducted more than 1,100 air raids and extensive shelling (some 25,000 shells), killing 154–170 Lebanese civilians and wounding another 350, while only 3 only 3 soldiers and no Israeli civilians were killed. This bloodbath climaxed with the Qana massacre where Israeli forces shelled the U.N. compound, killing 102 civilians. Amnesty International reported that “on the basis of all the information available… the IDF intentionally attacked the UN compound.” The attack failed to win Peres’s re-election.
On October 1, 1985 Israel launched Operation Wooden leg where they bombed the PLO headquarters in Hammam Chott, Tunisia. This bombing killed 56 Palestinians and 15 Tunisians and wounded over a 100 people. The attack was condemned by the UN security council, which released UN Resolution 573 calling the attack “a flagrant violation of international law.” Even the bellicose Ronald Reagan said that “the attack cannot be condoned.” However, our peace loving Peres had this to say about the attack: “It was an act of self-defense. Period.”
Although Peres may never admit the extent of his crimes his audacity extends to his denial of the Armenian genocide. Middle-Eastern correspondent Robert Fisk describe how Peres didn’t want any parallels drawn between the Nazi Holocaust and the Armenian Genocide. Fisk quotes Peres stating “we reject attempts to create a similarity between the Holocaust and the Armenian allegations.” Peres reiterates how the two have nothing similar in common: “It is a tragedy what the Armenians went through but not a genocide.”
Nothing similar at all? Peres may have been shocked to find out that Ralph Lemkin, a Polish Jew who first defined the term “genocide,” based his definition on the systematic killing of the Armenians at the hands of the Turks.
Finally, we cannot forget Peres’ support of Israel’s nuclear policy, both for energy uses and its illegal nuclear weapons production. He was a “nuclear enthusiast” according to Zeev Maoz, a professor of political science at UC-Davis, and wanted to “pursue aggressive production and expansion of the nuclear program.”
Note the hypocrisy coming from a man who stated that Iran obtaining nuclear weapons would pose a greater threat to the Jews than the Nazis did since “the Nazis didn’t have nuclear weapons”.
I am quite appalled by the recent apologism and selective memory the media has displayed regarding the death of Shimon Peres. He was no “peacemaker” worthy of the Medal of Freedom. He’s an outright war criminal and if he were an Arab our remembrance of him wouldn’t be clouded by such fantasy. However, as we know, Israel can do nothing wrong. The spineless Mr. Abbas has even agreed to give a short speech at his funeral. It’s truly sickening that such an awful man is receiving such praise and glory. I hope Mr. Peres is at peace, because the Arab word certainty isn’t.