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December 10, 2016 / 10 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Peace Process’

Israel’s 9th President Shimon Peres Dead at 93

Wednesday, September 28th, 2016

Shimon Peres, Israel’s ninth President, former Prime Minister, Nobel Prize winner, who served for nearly five decades as a member of the Knesset, passed away on Wednesday morning at age 93, following a severe stroke. He will be buried in a state funeral in the plot on Mt. Herzl dedicated to the nation’s great leaders. Peres was married to the late Sonia Peres who died in 2011. They had three children: Tsvia Walden, Yonatan (Yoni) Peres, and Nehemia (Chemi) Peres.

Peres was born on August 2, 1923 as Shimon Perski (a relative of Lauren Bacall a.k.a. Joan Persky), in Wiszniew, Poland (now Vishnyeva, Belarus). In 1934, together with his mother Sara and younger brother Gershon, they followed his father, who made aliyah in 1932. Peres grew up in Tel Aviv and studied at the Ben Shemen agricultural school. He met Sonia in Ben Shemen and they got married in 1945.

Peres became active in the Socialist youth movement Hanoar Haoved and in 1947 was recruited by Levy Eshkol to serve in the Hagana underground headquarters, alongside Eshkol and David Ben-Gurion. In 1953, after a stint as head of naval services in the newly formed IDF, Peres was appointed (at age 29) as Director of the Defense Ministry by Ben-Gurion.

His mission, and greatest achievement as head of Israel’s fledgling defense apparatus, was to turn Israel into a nuclear power. Peres began negotiations with the French in October 1956, during the Sinai War, which was a collaboration of Israel, France and Great Britain to take over the Suez Canal from the revolutionary government in Cairo. Peres stressed Israel’s loyalty to France and the fact that a strong Israel is vital to the French national interest, seeing as the Egyptians were supporting the Algerian FLN underground whose aim was to expel the French from North Africa.

According to Peres’ biographer Michael Bar Zohar, the birth of the Dimona nuclear plant was an exciting tale of intrigue, as the promise to provide the technology was made by French Defense Minister Maurice Bourgès-Maunoury, but on the date set for signing the secret deal, the French government collapsed in the National Assembly. Peres was waiting for Bourgès in his chambers with a bottle of whisky, only to discover that his host was out of office and that his likely successor, Gen. Charles de Gaulle, objected to spreading French nuclear know-how. Peres took advantage of the fact that Bourgès would on occasion tell his wife that he was in a meeting with the Israeli visitor when he was actually meeting with his lover, and demanded to cash his chips with the fallen politician. They agreed to backdate the agreement to the day before, when Bourgès still had the authority to sign it. The Frenchman said “D’accord” and the deal to set Israel up as the sole nuclear power in the Middle East was signed — fraudulently.

In 1959, Peres was elected to the Knesset as member of the ruling Mapai Party, and continued to serve as MK and in various ministerial positions, including as prime minister, almost uninterruptedly for 48 years. In 1965, Peres followed his mentor Ben-Gurion out of Mapai, and formed, together with former Chief of Staff Moshe Dayan, the Rafi party. After the 1967 war, an alignment of Mapai, Rafi and Ahdut Haavoda formed the Israel Labor Party, now also known as the Zionist Camp.

In 1973, after the Yom Kippur war which created a wave of anti-Labor sentiment in the public at large, and following the resignation of Prime Minister Golda Meir and Defense Minister Dayan, only two labor senior politicians retained their public prestige: Shimon Peres and former Chief of Staff and Ambassador to the US Yizhak Rabin. Rabin won and went on to become prime minister, with Peres as his defense minister, and their campaign for the leadership of Labor started two decades of enmity combined with forced cooperation which culminated in Peres eventually presenting to Rabin the Oslo agreements as an almost fait accompli.

In 1976, as defense minister, Peres was responsible for the Antebe Operation. Meanwhile, his disagreements with Rabin led to the latter’s resignation and the 1977 elections that, for the first time in Israel’s history, placed Likud’s Menahem Begin at the country’s helm. In the 1980s, as Labor’s leader, Peres failed to gain a resounding victory over his rightwing foes, and ended up in a coalition government with Likud in which he and Yitzhak Shamir rotated in the role of prime minister. While serving as Shamir’s foreign minister, Peres launched the London Agreement, a precursor of the Oslo Accord, which was torpedoed by Shamir.

In 1992, with Rabin once again the leader, Labor won the elections and formed a narrow, leftwing coalition government that relied on the Arab votes in the Knesset. Peres and his emissary Dr. Yossi Beilin began secret, illegal negotiations with the PLO, which resulted in the August 20, 1993 Oslo deal. The agreement, which resuscitated a dying PLO and gave it dominion over the Gaza Strip, Judea and Samaria, resulted, as many had predicted, in rivers of blood, as the Arabs residing in the newly formed Palestinian Authority launched a campaign of bombing and shooting attacks against Israeli civilian centers. In 1995, on the eve of the next elections, Prime Minister Rabin was assassinated and replaced by Peres.

In 1996 Peres lost his final bid for sole possession of the Prime Minister’s office when he lost the election to newcomer Benjamin Netanyahu. The televised debate between them showed the nation a tired, old political hack versus a youthful and well spoken leader. Netanyahu succeeded in forming his first coalition government despite the fact that his party had won by a mere 30,000 votes.

At that point, possibly the lowest in his political life, Shimon Peres reinvented himself and began the next phase in his career, as statesman inspiring an entire world. He founded the Peres Center for Peace, and although he continued to serve in the Knesset and was member of Ehud Barak’s security cabinet, his goals have changed. In 2005 Peres resigned from the Labor party to join Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s government, to support the second assault on Jewish life in the 1967 liberated territories: the expulsion of the Jews of Gush Katif. His reward was his election by the Knesset to be Israel’s ninth president in 2007. He gained 58 out of the 120 MK votes in the first round (38 voted for Reuven Rivlin, 21 for Colette Avital). His opponents then threw their support to Peres in the second round and he received 86 votes, with 23 objections.

He spent his seven years in office in an indefatigable global activity, attending conferences, giving speeches around the planet, meeting world leaders and becoming synonymous with the image of Israel’s future as drawn by Israel’s leftwing. He maintained his rigorous schedule after the end of his term in 2014, until, two weeks ago, his body succumbed to a stroke.

His death marks the end of Israel’s generation of founding politicians. He will be remembered for his great contribution to the Jewish State’s military supremacy in the Middle East, but also for his grave mistakes in acting to reverse the same state’s remarkable territorial gains of 1967. May his memory be blessed.

JNi.Media

A Simple Solution for Peace

Monday, August 22nd, 2016

People on the Left like to ask the people on the Right, “What’s your solution for peace?”

But they’re not really asking that, because they refuse to even consider any of the practical and peaceful solutions put forward.

They’re really saying, the only solution they’ll accept is the creation of a Palestinian State, and peace is not part of that equation.

I’ll offer a solution anyway. I’ve mentioned it before.

Polls have shown that nearly all Gazans want to move elsewhere. Polls have show that the majority of Arabs in Judea and Samaria also want to move elsewhere.

What could be simpler than giving them money and a plane ticket to elsewhere?

They want to leave. Let’s help them.

We provide them with enough funds to get a comfortable start in another country.

We demand the other countries chip in and do their part for peace by accepting these new immigrants – who, by the way, are coming with money in their pockets.

Voila! Peace.

How about we give it a try.

JoeSettler

Israeli Leaders Slam PA’s Abbas for Blood Libels and Lies in EU Speech

Thursday, June 23rd, 2016
by Michael Bachner, TPS

Israeli leaders, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin, responded on Thursday evening to harsh and false attacks voiced earlier against Israel by Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas during his speech at the European Union Parliament in Brussels.

Abbas urged the world to take action against “Israeli atrocities” and repeating debunked rumors that Israeli rabbis had “called to poison Palestinian water supplies.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blasted the speech, saying that Abbas had “showed his true face” in Brussels. “Someone who refuses to meet the president and myself for direct negotiations and who spreads blood libels before the European Parliament, is lying when he claims that his hand is extended in peace,” said Netanyahu.

The prime minister was referring to the potential meeting between Abbas and his Israeli counterpart Rivlin proposed by EU Council President Donald Tusk that Abbas bluntly refused to attend.

“Israel is waiting for the day when Abu Mazen stops spreading lies and engaging in incitement,” Netanyahu added, referring to Abbas by his nickname. “Until then Israel will continue to defend itself against Palestinian incitement that motivates acts of terrorism.”

Abbas harshly attacked Israel during his speech, calling its policies towards Arabs from the Palestinian Authority “racist” and “fascist.” He also said the PA is prepared to make peace with Israel — even as he rejected a single meeting with Rivlin while the two were in the same building at the same time, for the very same purpose.

“Our hands are extended with a desire to peace,” he claimed, directing his remarks to Israel. “We have the political will to achieve peace and we ask, do you have the same will to achieve peace and to acknowledge the historic injustice that your state has exacted on our country?”

President Rivlin also responded to Abbas’ speech on Thursday, expressing disappointment that Abbas has refused to meet with him.

“It is strange that Abbas repeatedly refuses to meet with Israeli leaders and then repeatedly turns to the international community for support,” said Rivlin in a statement. “We cannot build on the trust we have built if we do not start talking directly without intermediaries. Direct talks are the only way to build confidence and restore the conditions for peace between Palestinians and Israelis.”

Israeli lawmaker and former Shin Bet domestic intelligence chief Avi Dichter, who chairs the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee also responded to what he called the “falsehoods” propounded by Abbas during his Brussels speech.

“With a series of historical distortions and crocodile tears, Abu Mazen today described the 1948 Palestinian ‘Nakba‘ [Arabic for ‘disaster’], without mentioning the fact that the Arab leaders in 1947 were the ones who determined their fate,” said Dichter.

“The Jewish leaders accepted the partition plan, while the ‘Abu Mazens’ of that time rejected the United Nations proposal and the Arab armies invaded Israel in order to wipe out the Jews and take 100 percent of Israel.”

Former Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon responded to the speech as well, referring to Abbas’ claim that Ya’alon and Ehud Barak, a former Israeli prime minister, recently called Israel was a “fascist” state. While Barak did make a similar accusation, Ya’alon did not.

“Abu Mazen is not only lying as usual, continuing his malicious blood libels against the State of Israel,” wrote Ya’alon on his Facebook page, “he is also exploiting the healthy democratic discourse in Israeli society, which does not exist in his society and is putting words in my mouth I did not say.

“Abu Mazen’s conduct, speeches and evasions of direct negotiations with Israel without preconditions are further proof that he never intended to go for an agreement, including recognition of our right to exist as the only nation state of the Jewish people,” Ya’alon added.

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Israeli President in Brussels: Israeli-EU Relations Independent of Peace Deal

Tuesday, June 21st, 2016

By Jonathan Benedek/TPS

Jerusalem (TPS) – President Reuven Rivlin said that current European Union (EU) efforts to bring about a final arrangement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority should not overshadow the importance of bilateral ties between Israel and the EU, following a meeting in Brussels with President of the European Council Donald Tusk.

“The advancement of peace in the Middle East is a vital interest for Israel,” emphasized Rivlin. “At the same time, I believe that the bilateral relations between us can grow and develop independently.”

The Israeli president, who met with Tusk as part of a several day tour throughout Europe in which he is scheduled to meet with dignitaries of Belgium, the EU and NATO, viewed the Israeli-EU relationship as having great prospects of success.

“This is my first visit to the institutions of the EU as president of the State of Israel, and I see it as a sign of the great importance of relations between Israel and the European Union,”  said Rivlin.

“The EU is an integral partner with Israel in the fields of trade, science, environment and culture,” he continued.

Rivlin also claimed that Israel’s ties with Europe were founded on common values.

‘We share the fundamental values of democracy, freedom of expression, liberalism and human dignity,” Rivlin added. “These values are a solid basis on which to expand cooperation in other areas.”

President Tusk concurred with Rivlin. “We share many values and join forces together on a variety of issues,” Tusk said. “There is a deep partnership between the EU and Israel.”

Tusk touched on the need for the continued partnership between Israel and the EU in the battle against terrorism.

“I expressed to the president my condolences on the recent terrorist attack in Tel Aviv, and we discussed ways to deepen our cooperation against terrorism,” Tusk said. “There is no better place than Brussels to discuss this issue today.”

The European Council president added that a peaceful resolution between Israel and the Palestinian Authority is of vital importance to the European Union.

“A sustainable peace is a very high priority for the European Community,” Tusk stressed. “The EU is ready to support peace with unprecedented assistance and cooperation with both sides.”

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Israel: ‘You Don’t Need to go to Paris to Solve Conflict’

Thursday, June 2nd, 2016

By Joshua B. Dermer/TPS

Jerusalem (TPS) – On the eve of the French peace conference to help foster peace between Israelis and the Palestinian Authority, Director-General of the Israeli Foreign Ministry Dore Gold is less than optimistic.

“You don’t need to go to Paris in order to solve a conflict between neighbours,” Gold told journalists in a statement Thursday night. “The only way to get a stable regional arrangement that will allow use to create real peace in the Middle East is if the parties of the region come to understandings between them.”

Friday’s gathering in Paris will include foreign ministers and officials from 29 countries around the world, including U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. The goal of the initiative is to lay the groundwork for a more thorough peace conference set to take place at the end of the year. Neither Israeli nor Palestinian Authority representation will be present at Friday’s meeting.

“We believe the Arab states would give backing to direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians,” Gold said. “Therefore we prefer a Middle Eastern process and not a process that somebody is trying to create in Paris.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu released a statement on Wednesday stressing the importance of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, also known as Abu Mazen, taking up communication efforts directly with Israel instead of using mediated discourse.

“If the nations meeting in Paris this week really want to advance peace they should join me in calling on Abu Mazen to come to direct negotiations of this kind. This is the way to peace – there is no other,” Netanyahu said. “We have not stopped looking for paths to peace – including with the assistance of important developments in the region. The way to peace does not go through international conferences that seek to impose agreements, make the Palestinians’ demands more extreme and thereby make peace more remote.”

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Netanyahu: Arab Nations Can Help Bring ‘Real Peace’

Sunday, May 22nd, 2016

By Jesse Lempel/TPS

Jerusalem (TPS) – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday night that the Arab nations in the region can help facilitate a “real deal with the Palestinians,” adding that he has been discussing the issue with regional leaders “over the last few hours.”

“The initiatives I’m referring to are regional initiatives – meaning, aided by the Arab countries in the region to reach a real deal with the Palestinians,” Netanyahu said in a press conference following a meeting with Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka at Jerusalem’s King David Hotel. “We always thought it would be the opposite,” Netanyahu acknowledged, “but that is the direction today. I am constantly trying, including over the last few hours, to further contacts with various leaders in the region to help in this direction.”

Netanyahu’s comments come on the eve of his meeting with French Prime Minister Manuel Valls ahead of an international peace conference planned to take place in Paris at the beginning of June. Netanyahu has so far forcefully rejected the French conference, arguing that only direct talks between Israel and the Palestinians could advance peace and suggesting that the forum was biased against Israel.

The latest remarks, however, suggest that Netanyahu places more confidence in the efforts of regional Arab governments than in European peacemaking conferences.

“We have many common interests with leading Arab countries in the region, and I think that one of those interests is to advance a process for real peace between us and the Palestinians, and perhaps with their help we can overcome those a few obstacles,” Netanyahu said.

Netanyahu’s comments seemed to allude to a striking speech by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi last week in which he offered to act as a moderator between Israel and the Palestinians. Netanyahu immediately welcomed al-Sisi’s remarks, issuing a statement that “Israel is ready to participate with Egypt and other Arab states in advancing both the diplomatic process and stability in the region. I appreciate President al-Sisi’s work and also draw encouragement from his leadership on this important issue.”

Israel and Czechia signed a series of bilateral agreements relating to science, technology, tourism, and cybersecurity – the Czech embassy even has a special “cyber attaché.” But Netanyahu also thanked Prime Minister Sobotka for “the fairness of the Czech position in international forums.”

“Israel is often portrayed as not wanting peace. Nothing could be further from the truth. We pursue peace; we’re going to continue to pursuing peace with an expanded government, including various initiatives and possibilities within our region,” Netanyahu said. “I want to assure you that we’ll be happy to take up any suggestions and any help that you can give us in this common pursuit for peace.”

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Netanyahu, Herzog Welcome Egyptian Leader’s Overture for Peace

Tuesday, May 17th, 2016

By Michael Zeff/TPS

Jerusalem (TPS) – Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi offered to act as a mediator in the Israeli-“Palestinian” conflict on Tuesday, an overture that immediately drew favorable responses from both Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Opposition Leader Isaac Herzog.

“If we can all join forces in order to solve the Palestinian issue by creating hope for Palestinians and assuring security for Israelis, we will be able to write a new chapter that may prove to be more important than the peace accords between Israel and Egypt,” al-Sisi said on Tuesday during an inauguration ceremony for a new power plant in the Egyptian city of Asyut.

“I welcome Egyptian President El-Sisi’s remarks and his willingness to make every effort to advance a future of peace and security between us and the Palestinians,” responded Netanyahu in an official statement.

“Israel is ready to participate with Egypt and other Arab states in advancing both the diplomatic process and stability in the region. I appreciate President El-Sisi’s work and also draw encouragement from his leadership on this important issue,” Netanyahu added.

In his spontaneous remarks, President al-Sisi proposed to act both as a mediator between rival factions within “Palestinian” society and as mediator between Israel and the Palestinian Authority on the road to possible future peace talks.

Furthermore, the Egyptian president implied that resolving the conflict with the “Palestinians” will also incur a warmer relationship between his own country and Israel.

“If we are able to solve the issue of our Palestinian brothers it will achieve warmer peace [with Israel]. This is a genuine opportunity,” al-Sisi said.

Netanyahu wasn’t alone in expressing support of al-Sisi’s speech, leader of the Opposition and Zionist Union party Chairman Isaac Herzog posted his own response shortly after al-Sisi’s speech was made public in Israel.

“I congratulate the Egyptian President’s announcement. It’s a dramatic message, reflecting the historical process wherein the moderate Arab world expects a brave, strong, and sober hand extended from Israel,” Herzog posted on his Facebook page.

“It is our duty to seriously consider this, or else we’ll find ourselves doing so after the next parade of funerals,” Herzog warned.

The Egyptian offer comes on the same day as a postponement was announced for a planned French international peace conference later this month due to a scheduling conflict for US Secretary of State John Kerry. Israel had forcefully rejected the French conference, arguing that only direct talks between Israel and the Arabs could advance peace and suggesting that the forum was biased against Israel.

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/netanyahu-herzog-welcome-egyptian-leaders-overture-for-peace/2016/05/17/

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