Thursday, September 29, 2016

From Ian:

President Reuven Rivlin: You were our heart
I am writing to you for the last time, Shimon, "one president to another," as you would say every time you called to lend me support and advice, after I followed you into this office. As a young boy, you proposed adopting the surname "Ben Amotz," the name of the prophet Isaiah, a man of vision.
You, however, were not only a visionary, but a man of action as well.
You had the rare ability to formulate an idea that seemed unbelievable and turn it into reality. Your gaze was affixed far afield, your hands worked ceaselessly, and your feet traveled boundlessly on the path of Zionist and Jewish history. Your steps, Shimon, were always pointed upward and onward.
Like a mountain climber who first plants a stake in the ground and then assaults the summit, you lived your life, Shimon. First you dreamed, picturing the summit in your mind and your soul; and like a professional climber, once you were able to envision the State of Israel on the next summit -- you would begin the arduous climb, dragging us all with you, toward the objective.
You were able to move the most intractable of statesmen and thaw the hearts of our toughest adversaries. You strove toward the pinnacle of the Zionist dream -- an independent country living in peace with its neighbors -- and you received the most distinguished recognition, the Nobel Peace Prize.

Shimon Peres: A Life for Israel
The death of Shimon Peres yesterday at the age of 93 is a moment to take stock not only of one of the most remarkable Jewish figures of the last hundred years but of the history of the state of Israel, which he served for his entire adult life. As a longtime aide to Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben Gurion, who then went on to serve in just about every significant position of authority in the state, Peres’s story is very much that of his nation. And it is in that context, rather than solely through the prism of some of the policy choices he advocated, that his enormous contributions to Israel must be judged.
As one of Ben Gurion’s “boys,” it was Peres more than any other person, in his capacity as the director general of the Defense Ministry, who helped build Israel’s security infrastructure and its defense industry. His diplomacy was key to the alliance Israel struck with France in this period. That not only led to the Suez Campaign of 1956 (a great success for Israel even if it was a disaster for Britain and France), Israel’s acquisition of its first generation of sophisticated weaponry, and the birth of its nuclear program. He went on to follow his boss out of government and into opposition but he resurfaced as a leader of the Labor Party and served in a variety of posts, including minister of defense and two stints as prime minister despite never winning a national election in his own right.
But it is not for his role as the organizer of Israel’s defense in an era when its security hung by a thread that he is best remembered. Rather, his political legacy rests more on his actions as foreign minister, when he served in the government of his longtime bitter rival Yitzhak Rabin in the early 1990s. Peres was the driving force behind the decision to reach out to the Palestine Liberation Organization and to try and end the conflict with the Arabs that had begun long before Israel’s founding. Though he shared a Nobel Peace Prize with Rabin and the PLO’s Yasir Arafat, he was the one who not only pushed hardest for the agreement that would be known as the Oslo Peace Accords but was also the one who actually believed in what they were doing.
Peres liked to describe himself as more of a philosopher than a politician. This label explained his devotion to the idea that a land-for-peace deal could end decades of warfare in the face of facts that persuaded more sober figures it was bound to fail. His goal was not so much a security agreement as the creation what he hopefully described as a “New Middle East”—the title of the book he wrote about his objectives published in the midst of the post-Oslo euphoria in 1994—in which the dangerous neighborhood in which the Jewish state dwelled would be transformed into a Benelux on the Mediterranean.

JPost Editorial: Peres’s legacy
Shimon Peres’s life is the story of a nation. In every major event that occurred throughout the State of Israel’s 68 years, Peres was there, playing a leading role.
At the establishment of the state in 1948, he served as an aide to David Ben-Gurion. In 1956, he crafted the Kadesh operation during the Suez Crisis and got Israel a nuclear reactor from France in return. He later was the brains behind the 1976 Entebbe rescue operation and the mastermind of the 1990s Oslo Accords. The list goes on and on.
Despite his achievements and contribution to Israel and particularly to its military strength, Peres was at times a divisive and controversial figure. His political career had its ups and downs and he was not always liked. All of that changed though when he became president. The people suddenly adored and respected him. Foreign leaders, Hollywood stars and opinion-makers flocked to meet him, to bask in his presence and receive even just a few words of wise counsel.
The list of dignitaries expected to come to his funeral on Friday is a demonstration of this admiration.
US President Barack Obama, Britain’s Prince Charles, German President Joachim Gauck, French President François Hollande and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau are just a handful of the leaders scheduled to attend.
While summing up Peres’s life is difficult, two features stand out and are worth highlighting today, before he is interred on Mount Herzl.
Shimon Peres was Israel’s quintessential Zionist
Shimon Peres will be memorialized everywhere as being one of the world’s elder statesman. Yet the term elder conveys a sense of distance, perhaps suggesting someone who dwells on the past.
Nothing could be further from the truth about Peres. He was defined by his endless vitality. He might be the oldest person in the room, but his very alert mind and boundless energy ensured he was endlessly vibrant. Peres embodied the maxim Abraham Lincoln coined at his second inaugural when he told his fellow citizens it was time to “think anew and act anew.” Moreover, Peres was famously focused on the future. His critics will claim he was even futuristic. Peres, however, was relentlessly intent on securing Zionism in the present to ensure a better future for his people and for the region.
I remember how, as president of Israel, he basked in the love of the Israeli people, as he finally emerged as a father figure, no longer immersed in the politics of the moment that were so contentious and intense. When I visited him at Beit HaNasi a few years ago when he was president, he said to me, “I found the love of my people.” When I asked him why he thought it eluded him till now, he insisted this was because for his entire life he was too busy with matters of state. “I travelled to Washington a lot, always trying to help Israel’s situation,” he told me. In this way he was a true disciple of Ben-Gurion, who always wanted Israel aligned with the world’s leading power. Ben-Gurion studied law in Turkey during the Ottoman period. When British power ebbed during World War II, he detected early on an ascendant US. Peres was proud of his ability to detect trends early.
Scores of Israelis arrive at Knesset to pay tribute to Peres
The flag-draped coffin of former President Shimon Peres was laid in state in the Knesset Plaza on Thursday to allow the public to bid farewell to the last of Israel's founding fathers and its most veteran statesman.
The ninth president died on Wednesday, aged 93, two weeks after suffering a massive stroke.
Israeli flags were lowered to half-mast Wednesday at all government and state buildings, military and police bases, and Israeli embassies worldwide. The directive will remain in effect until sunset Friday.
Peres' coffin arrived at the Knesset Plaza shortly after 8 a.m. Thursday. At 8:45 a.m., President Reuven Rivlin, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, and Zionist Union leader Isaac Herzog laid wreaths at its base.
MKs from all political factions, as well as members of Peres' staff, passed by the coffin to pay their respects.
The Knesset allocated 12 hours, between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m., for the public to pay their respects. Scores of Israelis huddled outside the Knesset Plaza from early Thursday to await their turn. The Knesset Guard said hundreds of thousands of people were expected to pass by the coffin.
With 80 foreign leaders en route, Israel gears up for Peres funeral
Police on Wednesday issued hasty traffic notifications across Jerusalem as security services prepared for the arrival of dozens of foreign heads of state, ministers and public figures making their way to Israel to attend the funeral ceremony in the capital on Friday of former president Shimon Peres, who died early Wednesday morning at the age of 93.
Thousands of Israelis were also expected to pay their tributes to the last of the country’s founding fathers as his body will lie in state at the Knesset starting at 9:00 a.m. Thursday morning. Members of the public will be able to file past the casket to pay their last respects to the former president and prime minister for the next 12 hours.
Peres’s body will be moved to the Mount Herzl cemetery Friday at 8:30 a.m. and the official state ceremony will begin at 9:30 a.m. After the eulogies, a procession will head out at 11:00 a.m. to the cemetery’s Great Leaders of the Nation section where a burial ceremony will then begin at 12:00 p.m. Peres will be interred between the late prime ministers Yitzhak Shamir and Yitzhak Rabin.
Beginning at 7:00 a.m on Friday, all roads leading to Mount Herzl will be closed to traffic including Agron, Ramban, Hecht, and Herzl Boulevard.
Late president's last wish fulfilled as family donates his corneas
Former President Shimon Peres, who died Wednesday at the age of 93, requested to donate his corneas, his family said.
Israel's ninth president was a lifelong advocate for organ donation.
Corneas from donors over the age of 80 are used in bridge procedures, meaning they are used in emergency transplantations to stabilize patients in dire need, providing more time to find a better match. These corneas are also useful in glaucoma surgeries.
"We all believed that he had more up his sleeve, that Israel and the world could still enjoy his contributions," said Peres' son-in-law and personal physician, Professor Rafi Walden.
"Shimon's biggest contributions after death are his corneas, which will be donated for transplantation. His life was cut short as he carried out his great passion of strengthening Israel by advancing peace. His legacy will live on with us, always."
Walden thanked the medical team at Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer, where Peres was hospitalized for the last two weeks of his life, following his stroke on Sept. 13.
Obama orders US flags be flown at half-staff in honor of Peres
US President Barack Obama ordered Wednesday that US flags at the White House and at all federal buildings across the country and abroad be flown at half-staff in honor of former Israeli president Shimon Peres, who passed away early Wednesday morning at the age of 93.
The order also applies to US embassies, military posts, naval stations and naval vessels across the world.
In a White House proclamation sent out overnight Wednesday-Thursday entitled “Death of Shimon Peres”, Obama said he has instructed “that the flag of the United States shall be flown at half-staff at the White House and on all public buildings and grounds, at all military posts and naval stations, and on all naval vessels of the Federal Government in the District of Columbia and throughout the United States and its Territories and possessions until sunset, on September 30, 2016.”
The rare honor was previously extended to Nelson Mandela, former president of South Africa, in 2013; Pope John Paul II, in 2005; King Hussein of Jordan, in 1999, Yitzhak Rabin, prime minister of Israel, 1995, and Anwar Sadat, president of Egypt, in 1981.
The president confirmed late Wednesday that he would lead a US delegation to Israel to attend Peres’s funeral this coming Friday, after some initial ambiguity from the White House.
While eulogizing Peres, key leaders eschew chance to push two states
In their tributes to Israel’s late president Shimon Peres on Wednesday, innumerable world leaders praised his tireless fight for peace. Some also used the occasion to call on the country’s current leadership to advance a two-state solution, but several others, including perennial critics of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, tellingly eschewed the opportunity to connect condolences with appeals for the future.
Just as most Israeli hawks in their eulogies avoided mentioning some of the fundamental policy disagreements they had with the dovish Peres, a number of key international dignitaries — including people who usually jump at every chance to exhort the Israeli government to take bold steps toward peace — decided not to link Peres’s death with such calls.
This is noteworthy especially in light of the many condolence messages issued by world leaders after the death of former prime minister Ariel Sharon in early 2014. Like Peres, Sharon was considered a hawk in his earlier years (though the latter was a member of the center-right Likud party while Peres was practically a lifelong Laborite) who later prioritized the need to make peace and took concrete steps to achieve that goal.
Many messages of condolences issued by world leaders after Sharon’s death read like not-so-subtle pleas to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to follow in his predecessor’s footsteps and undergo a similar transformation from a hawk to a dove.
Bill Clinton pays last respects to Shimon Peres in Jerusalem
Former US President Bill Clinton paid his respects to former Israeli president and prime minister Shimon Peres immediately after landing in Israel on Thursday, viewing the late statesman’s coffin where it lay in state at the Knesset.
Clinton drove directly from Ben Gurion Airport outside Tel Aviv to the Knesset in Jerusalem, where Peres’s casket has been placed. He was welcomed to the Knesset with a “warm embrace” from President Reuven Rivlin, according to the Knesset spokesman. Rivlin, together with Speaker Yuli Edelstein, then accompanied Clinton to the Knesset plaza to pay his last respects to Israel`s ninth president.
Clinton is one of dozens of world leaders and dignitaries expected to land in Israel Thursday ahead of the funeral at Jerusalem’s Mount Herzl cemetery on Friday.
Peres died early Wednesday at the age of 93, some two weeks after suffering a massive stroke.
Donald Trump says Peres personified ‘dignity and grace’
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump extended his condolences to the family of former president Shimon Peres, who died early Wednesday two weeks after suffering a severe stroke.
Trump lauded the “dignity and grace” of Israel’s last founding father.
“Melania and I extend our deepest condolences to the family of Shimon Peres on the passing of their beloved father, grandfather and great-grandfather,” he said in a statement.
“On the world stage, Shimon Peres was a visible and highly effective patriarch to another, much larger family — the people of Israel, whom he led as prime minister and president,” he added.
“Shimon Peres’s life always pointed toward peace. Bearing witness to more than his share of war and its human toll, Shimon Peres devoted his leadership skills to cultivating peace between Israel and her Arab neighbors. He was a consummate statesman, a distinguished patriot and a friend of peace-loving people everywhere. With his hand outstretched in peace and friendship, Shimon Peres personified dignity and grace in a region of the world where both run far too short. May he rest in peace.”
Trump’s running mate, Indiana Governor Mike Pence, said “the world will miss” Shimon Peres, who “showed equal courage in war and peace.”
Honor Peres’s legacy by striving for peace, says Pope Francis
Pope Francis on Wednesday said he was “deeply saddened” by the death of Shimon Peres, expressing hope that the Israeli statesman’s legacy would live on through international peace efforts.
The 93-year-old former president, prime minister and defense minister died in the early hours of Wednesday morning, some two weeks after suffering a massive stroke.
“As the State of Israel mourns Mr Peres, I hope that his memory and many years of service will inspire us all to work with ever greater urgency for peace and reconciliation between peoples,” Francis wrote in a telegram to President Reuven Rivlin.
“In this way, his legacy will truly be honored and the common good for which he so diligently labored will find new expressions, as humanity strives to advance on the path towards enduring peace.”
The pontiff is due to visit Georgia on Friday and will not be joining global leaders heading to Jerusalem for Peres’s funeral, with US President Barack Obama, former president Bill Clinton, French President Francois Hollande and Britain’s Prince Charles among those attending.
He offered prayers for “all who grieve, especially for the Peres family.”
Peres visited the Vatican several times and enjoyed good relations with Francis.
In 2014 the former Israeli president and Nobel peace laureate met with the pope to discuss the idea of a UN-style “Organization of United Religions” to combat violence committed in the name of God.
A statement on behalf of Queen Elizabeth of England said the monarch was “greatly saddened to learn of the death of Shimon Peres today. Her Majesty warmly recalls her meeting with Mr Peres in 2008, and sends her heartfelt condolences to his family and the people of Israel at this sad time.”
“Her Majesty will be represented at the funeral of Shimon Peres by HRH The Prince of Wales,” the statement added.
Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni, remembering Shimon Peres as a “tireless supporter” of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, hailed him as a “symbol of peace.”
In Belarus, locals pay respects at Peres’s childhood home
Residents of the Belarus birthplace of Shimon Peres gathered outside his childhood home to pay their respects to the most eminent international figure to emerge from their village.
Villagers in Vishnyeva learned about the Israeli statesman’s death Wednesday from Limmud FSU, a Jewish education organization that has remained in regular contact with the remote community since holding 90th birthday celebrations there for Peres three years ago.
“Shimon Peres brought pride to our village through his life and accomplishments, and we felt obliged to pay our respects following his death,” said Oleg Demidchik, 63. “We are humbled that he is from our town and we will never forget this.”
The events for Peres’s 90th birthday celebration, held as part of the Limmud FSU Belarus conference, included a permanent photo exhibition showcasing his childhood. A plaque was also dedicated to Peres at a house on the site of his one-time family residence.
Iraqi Kurds Hold Memorial for Fmr. Israeli President Peres, Who Recognized Kurdish Democracy
Iraqi Kurds held a memorial service for former Israeli President Shimon Peres on Wednesday, hours after the veteran statesman passed away at the age of 93, according to various Kurdish news sources.
Kurds in the Duhok region, which is north of Mosul in Iraq, reportedly held a half hour service in honor of Peres, who in June 2014 advised President Barack Obama to recognize the reality of Kurdish separation from the rest of Iraq.
“The Kurds have, de facto, created their own state, which is democratic. One of the signs of a democracy is the granting of equality to women,” Peres said while briefing reporters on the meeting.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu echoed Peres’ sentiment shortly afterwards, saying that Jerusalem must “support the Kurds’ aspiration for independence.”
Bayar Zawitayi, a Kurdish activist who spoke to the media, said that the memorial service was meant to express condolences to Peres’ family and gratitude for his friendship.
In addition to recent expressions of support from Israeli officials, the Jewish state played a role in helping establish the modern Kurdish army in the 1960s. Sherzad Omer Mamsani, the Kurdish Regional Government’s first director of Jewish affairs, told The Tower in May that Kurds “have really a soft heart towards Israel.”
Arab party head: Peres brought disaster to my people, despite merits of the 90s
Joint List chairman Ayman Odeh defended his party’s decision not to release a statement eulogizing former president and prime minister Shimon Peres, saying Thursday that it kept quiet out of respect for the dead, despite having a “complex message” about him.
After Peres’ death, not one MK from the Joint List released a statement about Peres, even upon request, while multiple law makers from every other party in the Knesset did eulogize the former president on Wednesday.
The next day, no Joint List MKs paid respect to Peres as he lied in state at the Knesset.
Odeh tweeted to explain the silence: “The memory of Peres in the Arab public is different from the narrative discussed in recent years, and I realize such complex messages are difficult to hear a moment after someone died.
Bahrain FM eulogizes Peres as ‘man of war’ and ‘elusive peace’
The foreign minister of Bahrain, a country with no diplomatic ties to Israel, eulogized former president and prime minister Shimon Peres on Thursday, calling the late Israeli leader “a man of war and a man of the still elusive peace.”
While most Arab countries have declined to comment on Peres’s death, Sheikh Khaled bin Ahmed Al Khalifa joined leaders from around the world on Thursday in expressing praise of the former statesman, who died early Wednesday morning.
“Rest in peace President Shimon Peres, a man of war and a man of the still elusive peace in the Middle East,” Al Khalifa wrote on Twitter.
The tweet is the first official response to Peres’s death from any of the Gulf states.
The short eulogy came hours after the Bahraini Foreign Ministry tweeted what appeared to be a section of Al Khalifa’s speech to the United National General Assembly last week, in which he spoke acceptingly about Israel.
Anti-Israel Activists Join Hamas and Hezbollah in Celebrating Death of Former Israeli President Shimon Peres
While the death of former Israeli President Shimon Peres drew countless heartfelt condolence messages from around the world on Wednesday, the Hamas and Hezbollah terrorist groups — as well as a number of prominent anti-Israel personalities — celebrated the renowned statesman’s passing at the age of 93.
Palestinians “are very happy at the passing of this criminal who caused their blood to shed,” the Associated Press quoted Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri as saying. “Shimon Peres was the last remaining Israeli official who founded the occupation, and his death is the end of a phase in the history of this occupation and the beginning of a new phase of weakness.”
The Hezbollah-affiliated Al-Manar television station in Lebanon called Peres “the real face of the bloody and colonial policies adopted by the Zionist regime.”
Anti-Israel activist Max Blumenthal — the son of longtime Hillary Clinton adviser Sidney Blumenthal — tweeted, “To call Shimon Peres a man of peace besmirches the very concept of peace.”
Ali Abuminah, the co-founder of the Electronic Intifada website, tweeted, “Peres perfectly represents ‘Israel’: all ‘peace’ marketing on the surface, but his real story is unabated racism, ethnic cleansing and war.”
Electronic Intifada associate editor Rania Khalek tweeted, “Shimon Peres was a ‘man of peace’ like Saudi King Abdullah was a ‘reformer.’ Our media always fawns when western-backed criminals die.”
Hamas calls for ‘Day of Rage’ during Peres funeral
The Hamas terror group urged Palestinians to hold a “Day of Rage” on Friday, coinciding with the state funeral of former Israeli president Shimon Peres, which will be held in Jerusalem on that day.
The call is meant to mark the one-year anniversary of the beginning of a wave of terror attacks, including stabbings and car-rammings throughout the West Bank and in Jerusalem, that launched in September 2015.
Hamas’s call follows a Wednesday statement by the group’s spokesman in Gaza that expressed happiness at Peres’s death.
A spokesman for the group, Sami Abu Zuhri, told AP on Wednesday that “the Palestinian people are very happy at the passing of this criminal who caused their blood to shed.”
He added, “Shimon Peres was the last remaining Israeli official who founded the occupation, and his death is the end of a phase in the history of this occupation and the beginning of a new phase of weakness.”
Mahmoud Abbas to attend Peres funeral, ‘send message of peace’
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas plans to attend Shimon Peres’s funeral in Jerusalem tomorrow, at the head of a PA delegation, Palestinian and Israeli officials said Thursday.
Abbas’s office contacted the head of COGAT, Israel’s civilian authority in the Palestinian territories, Yoav Mordechai, to coordinate the president’s attendance, a COGAT statement said.
The bureau of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave the okay for the visit, several Hebrew media outlets reported a short time later, citing a senior diplomatic official.
A senior Palestinian official confirmed that Abbas was seeking to attend the funeral.
The official said Abbas wanted to “send a strong message to Israeli society that the Palestinians are for peace, and appreciate the efforts of peaceful men like Shimon Peres.”
Abbas will be joined by a delegation comprising senior negotiator Saeb Erekat, Civil Affairs Minister Hussein al-Sheikh, security chief Majid Faraj and Muhammad Al-Madani, who heads up relations with Israelis. Former Palestinian prime minister Ahmed Qurei may also attend.
Palestinians Slam Abbas for Extending Condolences to Peres’ Family
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has come under fire for extending his condolences to the family of former Israeli President Shimon Peres, who died on Wednesday.
Abbas’ critics slammed him for calling Peres a man of peace, saying the founder of Israel’s nuclear program and the man who supposedly presided over numerous massacres of Palestinians does not deserve it. They launched the hashtag #condolences_to_the_butcher.
In Wednesday afternoon, Palestinian news reported that Abbas sent a letter to Peres’ relatives praising him as the man responsible for kick-starting the “peace of the brave” together with former Palestinian President Yasser Arafat and former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.
He also said that Peres labored intensively, from the signing of the Oslo Accord in 1993 to his dying day, to establish a durable peace.
The letter won Abbas a torrent of criticism from fellow Palestinians.
“Abbas’ statements are a constant provocation,” Dr Usama Alshaqar wrote. “But this is beyond provocation, it’s political disgust! When was Peres, the engineer of the Israeli nuclear bomb, a man of peace?”
PMW: Fatah presents Shimon Peres as destined for Hell

Peres also demonized on official PA TV:
"The greatest fraud in the history of the Zionist movement"
"The crimes he committed in Lebanon could have led him to the International Criminal Court, but the entire world forgave Shimon Peres"
"The spiritual father of all the wars against Arab states"
"Responsible for the Kafr Qana massacre in Lebanon, when he bombed a school in which women and children hid"
"When he began to speak about peace, I believe he was deceiving the world"
"When Shimon Peres focused [in speech] on the issue of peace, this meant that war was coming"
"He would drink whiskey, he and Rabin loved whiskey"
"Even the Arab states believed that Peres was a man of peace, even though he was the greatest man of war in Israel, more than [former Israeli Prime Minister] Menachem Begin and even more than [former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel] Sharon"
Former Israeli President Shimon Peres demonized on official PA TV

Indy’s Robert Fisk smears Shimon Peres as a man of ‘blood and slaughter’.
Shimon Peres died yesterday at the age of 93. Within hours of his death, British media obituaries for the internationally popular Israeli statesman flooded the internet. Most have been positive, though some have included reasonable criticisms.
Whilst the usual propagandists from the ‘hate Israel’ brigade launched all too predictable attacks on Peres during the day, the Independent was the first ‘mainstream’ British news outlet to go all out smear.
Well, to be fair, it wasn’t just any Indy journalist.
It was Robert Fisk.
Fisk reduced the Israeli leader’s long and distinguished career to one incident carried out by the IDF during an operation against Hezbollah in 1996.
The headline of the Sept. 28th piece says it all.
Don’t remember Peres, Fisk is saying, as the tenacious advocate for peace who held every major government position during his political career, nor as Nobel Peace Prize Winner for his efforts to reach an agreement with the Palestinians.
Rather, he suggests, thoughts of Peres should evoke memories of tortured humanity inflicted by Israel’s cruel machines of war – a legacy of “blood, fire and slaughter”.
Coverage of Shimon Peres’ death promotes the BBC’s political narrative
Obviously Shimon Peres was of the opinion that “territorial compromise” by both Israelis and Palestinians in the form of land swaps of the kind proposed in the Clinton parameters and the Olmert plan is necessary but he clearly did not regard Jewish communities in Judea & Samaria as an “obstacle to peace” as claimed by the BBC in these reports.
As has been noted here on numerous occasions, the BBC’s portrayal of the topic of ‘settlements’ regularly fails to inform audiences of the fact that under any realistic scenario, some of the Israeli communities in Judea & Samaria would remain under Israeli control – preferring instead to amplify an adopted political narrative. It is of course highly regrettable that in its coverage of the death of a statesman strongly associated with efforts to make peace between Israel and the Palestinians, the BBC has distorted his views in order to promote that same narrative.
BBC radio marks Peres’ death with Palestinian propaganda – part one
At the beginning of this item, Coomarasamy told listeners “we’re going to start though by looking back at the life of Shimon Peres…”. Clearly Barghouti’s long – and entirely predictable – rant did nothing to contribute to that aim. Neither did it enhance audience understanding of the Oslo Accords or why they failed to bring an end to the conflict because Coomarasamy’s weak interjections did not include clarification of the fact that the Palestinians signed the agreements as full and willing partners or that the continuation of the process intended to lead to the formation of a Palestinian state was crippled by Palestinian terror.
The editors of this World Service programme undoubtedly knew exactly what they were going to get from Barghouti in this item and as we will see in part two of this post, they were not alone in reaching the bizarre editorial decision to provide an untimely platform for his tirade of falsehoods and propaganda.
PreOccupiedTerritory: Peres Now Advising Heaven On Economic Reform, Nuclear Development (satire)
Newly-arrived resident of Paradise Shimon Peres got to work immediately today, after it was announced that the longtime public servant would serve as a consultant to the archangels on various strategic issues such as infrastructure, nuclear weapons development, economic reconstruction, and peaceful relations with the Other Side.
Peres, 93, was welcomed into the heavenly realm early Wednesday morning, following an invitation two weeks ago. Brief negotiations resulted in the former president, prime minister, foreign minister, Ministry of Defense director-general, legislator, and functionary of the State through eight decades accepting a position to bring his experience and wisdom to bear on the issues facing Heaven.
A spokesman for the divine administration announced after Peres’s arrival that challenges lie ahead, but that he and the other members of the Heavenly Court have confidence that the Nobel Peace Prize laureate will handle them with grace, optimism, and determination.
“What Shimon Peres has shown us is that so many things once thought impossible are in fact quite possible,” declared Gabriel. “We need some of that kind of thinking in these parts, where, far from being a place of serenity, the dynamic of growing ever-closer to God poses challenges. We have invited Mr. Peres to help us meet those challenges, and look forward to working with him.”
PreOccupiedTerritory: Arab MKs To Attend Peres Funeral If Allowed To Distribute Candy (satire)
Leaders of Israel’s Arab political parties softened their stance today on the death and funeral of former president Shimon Peres, saying that they will in fact attend the burial and eulogy ceremony at Mt. Herzl on Friday if they are permitted to give out sweets to others present in honor of the occasion.
Hadash Party chief and Joint List alliance head MK Ayman Odeh told Israel radio this morning that in contrast to an earlier statement that he and his constituents saw nothing to honor, he and his colleagues would moderate their decision on condition that they be allowed to mark the death of a Jew in their traditional fashion, which involves the distribution of candy. Odeh had previously asserted the Joint List would not honor Peres, who represented what the MK called the catastrophe for his people that began in 1948.
Other Arab legislators voiced similar flexibility in their position, saying that they could meet the State halfway on bestowing final respects on Peres, a man who made valiant attempts to reconcile the two peoples. “In the spirit of Mr. Peres’s willingness to compromise for the sake of conciliation, I am perfectly willing to attend his funeral, but on one condition,” stated Ahmad Tibi of the Raam-Taal Party. “In exchange for this display of honor that we provide by our attendance, we will not be disrupted, impeded, or discouraged from marking the occasion by sharing traditional Palestinian sweets and other candies with other attendees. It’s what we do.”
“I’m even willing to be more flexible than that,” offered Balad Party MK Basel Ghattas. “I’ll even go out of my way to make sure the candy and pastries I bring are certified kosher, so everyone can partake with a clear religious conscience. I daresay the Zionist State will refuse this compromise, betraying the very intransigence they have shown all along, and which lies at the root of the conflict.”

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