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Posts Tagged ‘President Peres’

Peres: Israel Won’t Tolerates Attacks on Holy (Christian) Sites

Monday, December 30th, 2013

President Shimon Peres delivered a Christian New Year’s message enthusiastically proclaiming that Israel “will continue to guarantee access to holy sites for all” in the wake of recent “price tag” attacks on Christian sites.

“There is no place for violence in our society, even more so when it targets people or places of faith,” he said in remarks that have not been heard often, if it all, following official Palestinian Authority policies to obstruct Jews from praying at holy sites in Judea and Samaria.

President Peres hosted a reception on Monday at his residence in Jerusalem for the heads of the Christian denominations in Israel and said, “The State of Israel will not tolerate aggression against members of the clergy. I feel angry at the insults some religious leaders in Israel have faced recently. Israel has always been and will always remain committed to freedom of worship, freedom of religion.”

That is not entirely true. Jews are not free to pray on the Temple Mount; they need armed escorts to pray at Joseph’s Tomb (Kever Yosef) in Shechem; they often are victims of rock throwing at Rachel’s Tomb (Kever Rachel), despite its being surrounded by a wall; anti-Semitic vandalism often takes place at the Patriarchs’ Cave (Ma’arah HaMachpela) in Hevron; and the ancient synagogue in Jericho is usually out of bounds.

Any Jew trying to visit the ancient synagogue in Samoa, in the southern Hevron Hills, would leave in a coffins, or if lucky, on a stretcher.

Peres again offered his solution to the problems between Arabs and Jews. Just give the Arabs what they want, and there will be peace.

“Our peace talks with the Palestinians are ongoing; they are the greatest promise for our people and for the Palestinians,” in remarked. “An agreement between us can bring a change in the relations between Jews and Muslims and between all faiths.”

At least this time he said an agreement “can” bring peace instead of stating it “will” bring peace, just like every other agreement the past decades only brought war.

Greek Orthodox Patriarch His Beatitude Theophilos III told the invited guests on behalf of the Christian leader, “We take this opportunity to express our appreciation in particular to you, Mr. President for the determined and strong voice that you have been raising in condemning the wave of ‘Price Tag’ crimes in our country, and especially in Jerusalem….

“In order to avoid repeating the mistakes of bitter experience, there is more that can be done, both to facilitate access to the Holy Places for pilgrims from a distance as well as from our local communities.”

Of course, he did not remind anyone that until 1967, when Israel took back sovereignty of Judea and Samaria and all of Jerusalem after nearly 2,000 years and opened all holy sites to all religions, they were closed under the Jordanian occupation.

Real Hero at Bus Bombing Was a Child

Monday, December 23rd, 2013

The real hero who helped prevent mass casualties in Sunday’s metropolitan Tel Aviv (Bat Yam) bus bombing was a child who told the bus driver that’s someone had left a bag on the bus, one of the passengers told President Shimon Peres Monday.

The Jewish Press reported here that the bus driver, Michael Yoger, insisted he was not a hero.

President Peres met with Yoger to praise him for quick thinking by stopping the bus and evacuating passengers before the bomb exploded and later spoke with the passenger, David Papo, who identified the “bag” as a bomb.

“A child told the driver that someone had left a bag on the bus,” Papo told President Peres. “I don’t know why, but I decided to examine it because I didn’t understand how someone could leave such a big bag on the bus. I tried to lift the bag, but it was so heavy that it raised my suspicion further.

“When I opened the bag I saw what it was. When the explosion happened, we were in the road helping the police to stop passersby and the traffic. Only afterwards when I saw the hole in the bus did I understand the damage that could have been caused.”

The Oslo Accord Reality Check

Tuesday, November 5th, 2013

On October 24, 2013 (the Diplomatic Conference) and October 16, 2013 (the memorial ceremony for Prime Minister Rabin), President Peres, the architect of the September, 1993 Oslo Accord, claimed that the Israeli-Palestinian accord was the “opening to dialogue and peace.”  Is Peres’ claim vindicated by a reality check?

The Oslo state of mind

The Oslo state of mind was most accurately pronounced by Peres, at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, on Sept. 16, 2000, on the eve of the 2nd Intifada, 2000-2005 wave of Palestinian terrorism: “I believe that the previous borders, made of barbed wire, minefields, military positions, are irrelevant to our life…. I sincerely believe that a good hotel on the border will provide more peace and security than a military position…. I can see very little use for the past. Two things lose their importance: land and history. … To imagine is more important than to remember…. War is out of the question now…. I doubt very much if the Palestinians will go back to terror. … Once a nation’s economy turns from a focus on land to a focus on brains, borders are irrelevant….”

The blueprint for the Oslo Accord was documented by Peres in his October, 1993 book, The New Middle East: “The international political setting is no longer conducive to war (p. 80)…. Peace is the means for security (p. 84)…. We need soft – not rigid – borders…. While signing the documents on the lawn of the White House… you could almost hear the heavy tread of boots leaving the stage…. You could have listened to the gentle tiptoeing of new steps making a debut in the awaiting world of peace (p. 194)…. “

The new – VS the real – Middle East

The Oslo Accord state of mind, and the new Middle East vision, have been trounced by the Arab Tsunami, which imploded the real Middle East, transitioning the region toward further fanaticism, terrorism, tyranny and anti-“infidel” sentiments, away from moderation, peace, democracy and tolerance. 

The Oslo state of mind underestimated the potency of the deeply-rooted 1,400 year old fundamentals of the real Middle East, which are sweeping the combusting Arab Street in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain, Syria and other Arab countries: violent unpredictability, uncertainty, unreliability, instability and shifty regimes and policies; religious, ethnic, ideological and geographic fragmentation; violent intolerance toward other Muslims and the “infidel;” no freedom of speech, religion, press and association and no gender equality; no intra-Arab comprehensive peace and no compliance with most intra-Arab agreements, which are tenuous in nature.

Has Oslo transformed Israel and the Palestinians?

Ariel University’s Dr. Yuval Arnon-Ohanna, formerly with the Mossad and one of Israel’s leading experts on the Palestinian issue, documented in Line of Furrow and Fire- the conflict for the Land of Israel, 1860-2013 (Achiasaf Publishing, 2013) that the 1993 Oslo Accord snatched the PLO from the jaws of oblivion.  Arab regimes severed financial assistance to – and most contacts with – the PLO, due to the PLO’s collaboration with Iraq’s 1990 invasion of Kuwait. The US suspended its dialogue with the PLO in 1990.  The 1st Intifadah – wave of Palestinian terrorism – was largely subdued by Israel in 1991. The PLO lost two key co-founders, Khalil al-Wazir (1988) and Salah al-Khalaf (1991). Its popularity, among Palestinians, was significantly marred by corruption and embezzlement, attributed primarily to Arafat and his wife, Suha, Mahmoud Abbas and his sons, Yasser and Tareq, Arafat’s financial advisor, Muhammad Rashid, and the Tsumud (steadfastness) Fund. The Oslo Accord resuscitated the PLO, which still oversees the Palestinian Authority, legally and operationally.  

The Oslo Accord transformed Israeli policy dramatically, strategically and tangibly.  Israel made concessions to the Palestinians, never extended by the Ottoman Empire, the British Mandate or the Arabs, transferring parts of Israel’s own cradle of history to its arch-enemy and advancing Palestinian sovereignty. Israel imported some 70,000 Palestinian terrorists from Sudan, Yemen, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria and Tunisia to Gaza and the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria – the door steps of their intended victims – arming them with weapons and lobbying on their behalf in Washington, DC.

Contrary to Israel, the PLO was transformed tactically and intangibly, while sustaining its strategy, as enunciated by its 1964 Covenant, considering the Land of Israel a divinely ordained Muslim land (Waqf). Arafat stated that the Oslo Accord was provisional, aiming to destroy Israel, triggering an unprecedented level of  Palestinian non-compliance with agreements. Mahmoud Abbas established a hate-education system.  And, an unprecedented wave of Palestinian terrorism erupted in April, 1994, producing so far over 1,600 Israeli fatalities, five times as large as the toll of the twenty years prior to Oslo. 160 Israelis were murdered during the pre-Oslo 1st Intifadah, compared with 1,000 during the post-Oslo 2nd Intifadah.  In June 2001, Faisal Husseini, the PLO darling of the Western media, clarified that the Oslo Accord provided the Palestinians with a Trojan horse in the heart of Israel.  

The Oslo-driven Palestinian conduct has been consistent with the Palestinian intra-Arab track record of subversion and treachery, which caused Arafat’s and Mahmoud Abbas’ expulsion from Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Kuwait. It has also been consistent with the Palestinian collaboration with the Nazis, the Communist Bloc, Khomeini, Saddam Hussein and Bin-Laden.

The Oslo Accord reality check documents that contrary to the hope of its architects, the Palestinian leopard does not change spots, only tactics.

President Peres, Defying Netanyahu, Barak: ‘We Cannot Attack Iran On Our Own’

Thursday, August 16th, 2012

President Shimon Peres said Thursday in an interview with Israel’s Channel 2 News that Israel alone should not and cannot attack Iran’s nuclear facilities. With this statement, Peres has effectively positioned himself in direct opposition to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak.

In the interview, the president stresses: “It is clear to us that we alone cannot do it. We can postpone it, but we know clearly that we have to go along with America. There are questions of coordination and timing, but no matter how much nearer the danger is growing, at least this time we are not alone.”

In Israel’s political system, the role of president has been designed as largely ceremonial, intended to preserve the balance of Israel’s democracy. President Peres’s decision to oppose the Prime Minister, who holds the executive powers, is a deviation from decades of tradition, and may result in some harm to the institution of the presidency itself.

Peres also addressed the commitment of President Barack Obama to Israel in connection with an attack on Iranian nuclear facilities. “This is an American interest, and he (President Obama) sees this interest,” clarified the president. “Obama is not saying this just to please us.”

The president added that “Israel must rely on herself, but that does not mean she should give up on friends. When I say that I have a right to self-defense, it does not mean that I must be angry with everyone, whatever for?”

During the day, Thursday, Defense Minister Ehud Barak addressed the possible attack on Iran in the Knesset plenum, explaining why this action was necessary. He said that dealing with a nuclear Iran would be difficult, expensive and more dangerous. He added: “The decision, as required, will be made by the Government of Israel, not by groups of civilians and not even by editorials.”

The Channel 2 News full interview will be shown at 8:00 PM Israel time, 1:00 PM New York time.

Politicians Talk About the Universal Draft

Sunday, July 15th, 2012

Chief Rabbi Amar and President Peres met today and discussed the draft issue. They concluded that the debate must continue, but without extremism from any side. Peres restated that everyone must bear the burden.

Prime Minister Netanyahu announced at the weekly cabinet meeting that drafting every 18 year old makes for a good headline, but it’s not realistic. The introduction must be done gradually, as unity is just as important as sharing the burden. His goal is 6000 Chareidi draftees a  year by 2016.

Blogging Tomorrow at the President’s Conference

Friday, June 22nd, 2012

My first stop on the final day of the President’s Conference was a special bloggers meeting first with Dr. Yossi Vardi and then with President Peres. Bloggers joked on Twitter that they felt like calling Peres ‘Saba’ after spending the past few days with him, and I can understand why. He certainly has a grandfatherly type of spirit made up of a kind smile and a warm glow that radiated through the low lighting of Exhibition Hall.

The bloggers had the opportunity to ask President Peres some questions at the gathering. Bloggers from both national papers and personal websites were represented and asked questions that ranged from straightforward politics to ones that were more personal. One inevitably centered around the status of Iran, in which Peres answered that Iranians are using dangerous means that don’t give Israelis much of a choice when deciding what to do next. Peres explained that in the recent nuclear negotiations, the Iranians came to the table half-hearted. If the leaders don’t agree to economic sanctions, then all options will be on the table. A heavy calm had permeated the room throughout Peres’ discussion, but hearing the idea of the potential for more extreme measures took it to a deeper level.

That feeling was lifted during one of the most moving parts of the session when Peres was asked about his reflections during his time in America with President Obama. A clear advocate and friend to America, Peres explained he was charmed by the President. He said the unique thing about America is that it’s the only power in history that got its strength not by taking, but by giving. “This is a new concept about the strength of generosity,” he said. As kind as his words were, I can’t help but poke a hole in the message. I don’t think the Native Americans would be so quick to talk about America’s generous nature. On top of that, America is a capitalist country that inspires starry-eyed youth with the idea of the ‘American dream.’ The greed and corruption that can result from the concept doesn’t match up. Further, when America started the War on Terror, they exercised their strength under the cover of generosity, wanting to set up a democracy in a less fortunate area, but the true reasons for invading were far less altruistic. That being said, even if America may not be the most generous historically, honoring Israel certainly falls into that category. Seeing Israel in that respect was incredibly moving for Peres and for many bloggers in the room.

Some questions were injected with religion. One blogger asked Peres what he would ask God for at the Kotel. Peres said that God resides in each of us and He guides us. We can follow him or we cannot follow him, but he would ask him to continue to give the right advice and in turn, we will do the right things. It’s an idea that I’ve been learning about at seminary for a few weeks now, and an aspect that can be included in all areas of life. The overarching idea mimics the theme of the conference in general. We don’t know what’s in store for the future, but we must have faith that tomorrow’s world will be better than today’s. Peres said that in the Hebrew language there is only past and future, no present. In response to the words of the prophets, he said that “there is nothing on the waiting list.” The prophets’ words advise us in which way to change for the future. Peres’s actions set the stage for that. By creating the President’s Conference, he is setting up a means to exchange ideas and meet new people that together can create that change.

Peres exuded the same fervor in response to the most fun question of the day. @Roopunzel (on Twitter) asked, “What’s on your wish list for your next birthday present?” Peres didn’t hesitate. He responded that his wish is for all people to have happy birthdays. I hope that’s a message that can be delivered.

Reflections on the Presidential Conference 2012

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

The Presidential Conference, dubbed ‘Tomorrow’, did not disappoint. Filled with top brass politicians, journalists, ambassadors, entrepreneurs, academics, scientists and more, the conference was a networker’s paradise; classy, comfortable and conducive to fostering good, new initiatives. Focusing on technology, economy, problems and peace, sessions were strung with a seam of tomorrow with words like ‘shaping’, ‘change’, ‘adaptation’ and ‘innovation’.

Warming up the audience was the adorable media personality, 84 year old Dr. Ruth Westheimer, who built her successful career as a sex-therapist. Sharing the stage with Yossi Vardi, considered by many as the father of Israeli start-ups, Dr. Ruth’s field of expertise dominated the conversation, attracting some awkward moments. They talked about the next generation’s version of relationships due to the role new media plays in the dating world of today – a combination of fields of expertise if ever I’ve seen one.

The opening night was politically star-studded. President Peres bestowed Israel’s highest honour, the Presidential Award of Distinction, on former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. Followed by the Honourable Tony Blair, who pointed out that “President Peres was a Minister before I was born,” the feeling in the air was of a triangle of friendship going back many years. Those familiar with Israel’s short history and the contribution these men have made to it, could easily have been politically ‘star-struck’. Kissinger rightfully acknowledged the significance of the award by joking, “It’s not often you hear an 89 year old man say this, but I wish my parents were here to see this.”

Sticking to the theme of ‘Tomorrow’ with the deliberation one would expect from such giants, the men praised the past but emphasized a vision for the future. As a colleague pointed out, most people of the President’s age would talk of their accomplishments or their experiences, or even merely themselves, but President Peres focuses on the future! Investing in programs and technologies and even this conference, the President is clearly embracing a better tomorrow.

In fact, every speaker I heard referenced the theme of ‘Tomorrow’. With varying degrees of optimism, hope, certainty and speculation, almost all said we should lead the change if we don’t want to be led by the change. The leaders that spoke gave glimpses into the challenges of tomorrow, where inadequate preparation for the future may leave a once powerful enterprise completely redundant and failure to properly adapt means the world is passing you by.

There is much to learn by listening to these wise and experienced speakers, and we all appreciate the time given by all those who participated in the conference, but more so, I was moved by the ‘schmooze’ time these men donated. People were accessible, friendly and willing to help, because after all, it’s about the future!

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/special-features/president-conference-israel-2012/reflections-on-the-presidential-conference-2012/2012/06/21/

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