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September 19, 2014 / 24 Elul, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Shimon Peres’

Is Shimon Peres Preparing to Undermine Netanyahu?

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

Is Shimon Peres Planning to Undermine Netanyahu?

For some people, seven decades in political life would be considered a lifetime of service. At the age of 91, most people would be happy to leave the public eye and retire to a quiet life.

Not, apparently, Shimon Peres.

As Israel’s nonagenarian president enters his last month in office, Peres has begun showing signs that the end of his career as an elected official will not necessarily mean his exit from the political stage.

The Hebrew-language daily Yedioth Aharonoth reported on Yom HaAtzma’ut that Peres had violated his mandate as Israeli president by “negotiating” an updated version of the Oslo Accords with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, in 2011. Today, the paper reported that the prime minister was furious at Peres’ comments, which appeared to be an opening salvo in a post-presidency in which Peres uses his international status as a senior Israeli spokesman to pressure Netanyahu to compromise vital interests in the name of appeasing the international community.

In Israel, the president has no authority to negotiate treaties, but Peres’ international recognition as a senior Israeli spokesman could put pressure on the prime minister

On Wednesday, Peres met with visiting US National Security Advisor Susan Rice, a meeting that ended with an announcement that Peres would travel to the United States next month to meet President Barack Obama at the White House.

During a joint press conference, Peres departed again from his largely ceremonial role to argue that “There’s no alternative to the two-state solution. Israel is reaching out for peace with all of its neighbors, primarily with the Palestinians.” Peres did not mention any of the many signs that the Palestinians do not appear ready to make peace with Israel, but Palestinian Authority leader Abu Mazen capitalised immediately on Peres’ attack on Netanyahu.

“After the first four meetings, a fifth meeting was planned in Amman,” the Palestinian leader said, “but Shimon Peres made his excuses and told me: ‘I’m sorry but the government doesn’t accept what we have negotiated and there’s nothing more I can do’.”
It should be noted that while Peres and Netanyahu have treated one-another cordially during their joint tenure as president and prime minister, respectively, there is also long-standing political blood between the two. Netanyahu was a fierce critic of Peres’ Oslo process during the 1990s, and narrowly defeated the Labor Party stalwart in the 1996 election following the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin.

PM Netanyahu Debunks Peace Deal Claim: ‘Peres Had No Deal With PA’

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

The Prime Minister’s Office came out swinging in an overnight Independence Day statement Yom HaAtzma’ut, bluntly denying that President Shimon Peres ever reached a final status deal with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.

The statement, reported overnight by Voice of Israel government radio, denied a claim by the president reported earlier in the day that he had reached an agreement with the Ramallah-based PA chairman three years ago.

“The only one Abbas has reached an agreement with is with [the Gaza-based terrorist organization] Hamas,” commented the PMO.

President Peres had told Israel’s Channel 2 TV in an interview over the holiday that three years ago he reached a deal in principle after four meetings abroad with Mahmoud Abbas. However, he said it was scotched by Prime Minister Netanyahu, who nixed the agreement just prior to what was to be a fifth and final meeting in Amman.

The president said Mr. Netanyahu told him to wait because Quartet Middle East envoy Tony Blair, a former UK prime minister also involved in talks with the PA, might bring to the table a better offer. “But the days passed and that deal never materialized,” Mr. Peres lamented.

Israel’s president – whose position is primarily ceremonial and traditionally not intended to be functionary – said his own discussions had been about land swaps and total land mass rather than boundary lines. Maps had not yet been drawn, the president said, reported the Independent Media Review and Analysis, IMRA.

Cancelling the fifth meeting, he allegedly told the PA Chairman in August 2011, “I’m sorry, but the government doesn’t accept what we have negotiated and there’s nothing more I can do.”

The “secret” talks were never secret, however, and there is some question over how far the president’s diplomatic authorization supposedly reached.

President Peres, who was the architect of the failed Oslo Accords, is expected to retire next month as he reaches the age of 90 after a political career of seven decades.

Meanwhile, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon is meeting today with the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Security Committee as lawmakers review the current security situation.

On the agenda are all recent events, including those of the ‘price tag’ incidents, ‘David the Nahlawi’ and the attacks in Judea and Samaria that followed the cessation of final status talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

A Nation in Unity on Yom HaZikaron, Israel’s Remembrance Day

Monday, May 5th, 2014

Israel’s flag is waving at half mast and the memory of 23,169 lost Israeli soldiers and victims of terror has quieted the nation on Yom HaZikaron, Israel’s Remembrance Day.

No music plays in the neighborhoods, and children are not laughing today on the streets. A somber air is felt throughout the country as Israelis remember their fallen.

Some of those are not even Jewish. They are Bedouin or Druze or Circassians who have thrown in their lot with their Jewish neighbors. They, too, have paid the price.

Few indeed are those in this country who have not lost at least one family member in military action or terror, or are not close to someone who has, in the struggle to fulfill the mitzvah to hold this Holy Land, Eretz Tzion, Israel.

By age 16, all Jewish teens in Israel receive their first IDF notice, summoning them for exams to determine a medical, educational and psychological fitness profile. The IDF recently announced it will soon begin to send voluntary draft notices to all Christian Israelis, offering them the chance to enlist in Israel’s army as well.

By 18, most boys and girls in this country are smiling and nervously getting into fitted green or camel-colored uniforms, queuing up at central bus stations before and after Shabbat and talking about what happened in their new units “at the base.”

They’re babies, really — babies learning how to face killers; other babies fed on evil hatred since birth. Last year, 40 died, though some of those were reservists, IDF soldiers who return to serve 30 days a year to help the “newbies” and the career soldiers keep Israel safe from its enemies. “Reservists” can be soldiers in their 20s — or as old as 40.

“It is difficult, if not impossible, to show those that haven’t experienced it the size of the grief that befell us, the intensity of the shock that grasps us, and the sense of loss that fills us,” Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu explained at Monday’s ceremony at Mount Herzl military cemetery, attended also by President Shimon Peres, IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz and a host of other officials.

Paraphrasing and slightly changing a well-known Psalm of King David, he said, “There, we sat at the graves of our loved ones, and wept, and we remembered our loved ones that fell for the sake of Zion.”

Sweeping the entire People of Israel into unity with Israel’s grief over its fallen, the prime minister said, “On this day, the entire people relates to the heroes of the nation. They come from all parts of the nation and from all parts of society. The simple truth that is the most concise is this: we would not be here if it were not for their sacrifice.

“Even if it means unparalleled pain, a great miracle happened here. Israel returned to her country, to her home, established a state and did wonders, but at this moment we should not forget that it is a privilege to be here.”

People came to their feet across the country as a siren wailed into the skies at 11 o’clock in the morning, reminding Israelis of the price paid for peace, and Israel’s defense.

A candle lighting ceremony at the Western Wall last night, announced by the nationwide siren at eight o’clock in the evening, also featured an address by President Peres.

“We, the Israelis, are not like every people,” the president pointed out. “Already for years a sad generation hasn’t relaxed, hasn’t been able to enjoy a time of happiness. Our joy is always missing. A cloud of sadness envelops us. It is deeply hidden, but one can see it in our eyes.”

The president spoke of parents who lost their children, “the image of the soldiers that fell in Israel’s wars… They did not have time to plant a tree. They didn’t taste the full flavor of love. They left behind you, the bereaved families… and us, the friends, to painfully remember.”

Jewish Ukrainian Mayor Shot, Worry Rises as Separatists Seize More Towns

Monday, April 28th, 2014

The Jewish mayor of the eastern Ukrainian town of Kharkov was shot in the back by unidentified masked gunmen on Monday and is now fighting for his life, even as Israel’s president warned Jews around the world on Holocaust Remembrance Day to watch for signs of rising anti-Semitism.

Pro-Russian separatists captured Kharkov, eastern Ukraine’s second-largest town, on Monday, according to a report by RIA Novosti. The news outlet quoted a friend of Mayor Gennady Kernes who said, “They shot him in the back from the forest…  His lung is pierced and his liver pierced all the way through.”

Aides said the mayor had recently received numerous threats,  RT News reported. The attack, which came less than 24 hours after a clash between anti-government protesters and nationalists in the city left 14 people injured, left Kernes critically wounded.

Speaking at the opening ceremonies Monday for Holocaust Remembrance Day, President Peres spoke of the death of his family in the little town of Vishnyeva, in Poland. Two thousand Jews all died there after being locked into the wooden synagogue building by the Nazis, and then burned alive.

“Half of the Jews of Vishnyeva made aliyah to Israel, the other half, which did not, were burned alive,” the president said. “Our body was slashed in two – but our spirit remains undivided, pulsating here in Israel as a locked memory, an independent Jewish renaissance never again to be destroyed.”

The clear warning issued by the president is one the Jews in Ukraine now must heed – if they even had a chance to hear it as the rising war begins to rage around them.

So far the Jews of Kharkov seem to be safe – but the city has a bloody past in terms of protecting its Jews. More than 15,000 Jewish residents of Kharkov were murdered between December 1941 and January 1942, herded by Germans into a ghetto area set up for them about five miles from the city and periodically hauled out and shot to death. Some were just buried alive. A mass grave was discovered not far from the site, in the Drobitzki Valley.

Many of the supporters of former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko are also anti-Semitic, sources told the Arutz Sheva website in an interview in February. As a result, some of the community is considering aliyah.

In the eastern Ukraine on Monday, armed gunmen also seized town of Kostyantynivka, entering the administration building and the police headquarters. International media reported that masked gunmen were wearing camouflage outfits and were armed with assault weapons.

Both towns are located in the Donetsk region, along with Sloviansk, a third city which also has now been declared an independent entity by pro-Russian secessionists.

Protesters seized a local state TV station in the city of Donetsk. The protesters demanded the launch of a ‘Donetsk People’s Republic’ TV channel, and that Russian TV channels be broadcast. The Ukrainian flag was lowered from the building and the flag of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic was raised in its place – but later, that too was removed. Nevertheless, a source told Interfax-Ukraine that secessionist security personnel remained at the TV station to enforce the demands.

Ron Pundak, Active in Many Failed Peace Initiatives, Dead at 59

Saturday, April 12th, 2014

Ron Pundak, who was the executive director of the Peres Center for Peace, an architect of the Oslo Accords, and an active participant in the Geneva Initiative, died from cancer on Friday. Pundak was 59 years old.

Pundak is being widely lauded as a great peace activist and a visionary.

Israel’s President Shimon Peres said that Pundak, was a warrior, a man of values and an intellectual.

“He [Pundak] dedicated his whole life for the achievement of peace with our neighbors. He was willing to do anything for peace, sacrifice his life and dedicated each and every moment of his life to it. Ron was a family man, a great soul and he will be missed,” Peres said.

Israeli politician Tzipi Livni said: “There are war heroes but Ron was hero of peace. He was a Zionist who believed in peace and was not deterred by extremists, cynics and the hopeless.”

However, the Oslo Accords and the Geneva Initiative have both resulted in great harm to Israel.

And at the J Street Conference in 2011, Ron Pundak told the audience something to which they responded with thunderous applause.

“Israel,” Pundak said, “can live with a nuclear Iran and it must not base its policies on a worst-case scenario.”

Funeral arrangements had not yet been made before Shabbat.

Obama and Peres Polish Up their Persian for Iran’s New Year

Thursday, March 20th, 2014

President Shimon Peres and President Barack Obama delivered their annual greetings to Iranians celebrating the new Persian year and played up prospects of peace.

Peres showed off his language skills – actually those of his speech writers – by starting with, “Iraniane Gerami, Novruzetan Piruz Bad,” which can be translated as “Iranian citizens, wherever you are, Happy Nowruz.”

Obama began his video greetings with “Dorood,” or “to praise.” It is said by Muslims every time they hear the name of the Islamic prophet Mohammed.”

Presidents love impressing foreign people with greetings such as “Shalom,” which they don’t understand not only mneans “Peace” and “Hello” but also means “goodbye,” but unfortunately without the connotation of “good riddance.”

“The Jewish people and the Persian people, the Iranian people have a very long history and we’re going to have a long future,” said Peres, implying optimism that Iran will not succeed to wipe Israel off the face of the earth.

“We are old cultures, we learn history, we make history and we respect history,” he said.” We have a heritage of values; we are not just business peoples but two nations that respect culture, that respect human dignity. We call to live in peace and understanding.”

That is why brining Israeli flags is such a popular sport in Iran.

On the other side of the ocean, President Obama said, “Since taking office, I’ve offered the Iranian government an opportunity –if it meets its international obligations, then there could be a new relationship between our two countries, and Iran could begin to return to its rightful place among the community of nations.”

The odd thing is that that he already has given Iran a spot closer to center stage in the international community although it has not met its “international obligations,” but there is nothing like trust to usher in the new year.

“Last fall, I spoke with President Rouhani,” Obama continued, “It was the first conversation between an American president and an Iranian leader since 1979. I conveyed to President Rouhani my deep respect for the Iranian people, just as he expressed his respect for the American people….

“Since then, we’ve made progress. For years, the international community has had concerns that Iran’s nuclear program could lead to Iran acquiring a nuclear weapon, which would be a threat to the region and to the world. Under the initial agreement we reached in November, the Iranian government has agreed to limit key parts of its nuclear program. Along with our international partners, the United States is giving Iran some relief from sanctions.” Iran has “agreed” but has not carried out the agreement, but trust the president, because he said, “As I’ve said before, I’m under no illusions…. If Iran meets its international obligations, we know where the path of dialogue and greater trust and cooperation can lead…

“Real diplomatic progress this year can help open up new possibilities and prosperity for the Iranian people for years to come.

And what happens is Iran does not meet its international obligations? Obama undoubtedly will be back next year with the same speech.

If you want to hear all four minutes and 47 seconds of it, here it is.

Peres Confused over ‘Isolation’ and ‘Peace’

Tuesday, March 18th, 2014

The subject of President Shimon Peres’s speech at the Sixth Annual Negev Conference in Sderot on Tuesday was not a surprise, but his contrasting a peaceful-seeking nation with one that is isolated says volumes about his view from the Ivory Tower.

After his expressing his delight at the Israeli government’s going along for the ride with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to the Peace Process Cemetery, Peres said, “We are not an isolated nation’ we never were. We are a nation that seeks peace.”

He was wrong on one point. Israel indeed is an isolated nation. The reason it is isolated is his second point – that Israel seeks peace.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/peres-confused-over-isolation-and-peace/2014/03/18/

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