Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa’s Thursday tweet, “Rest in peace President Shimon Peres, a man of war and a man of the still elusive peace in the Middle East,” has received a barrage of hostile reactions from across the Arab world, some of them accompanied by pictures of dead civilians killed in 1996 by an IDF operation in Lebanon ordered by Peres on the eve of the elections, which some argued was done to promote his image as a tough leader.
A spokesman for the Islamic Jihad in Gaza said the attempts to paint Peres as a man of peace will not wash his hands of his war crimes against the Arab nations, especially “the Palestinian, Lebanese and Egyptian nations.” He didn’t include Syria or Jordan, so maybe Peres gets a pass there.
Bassam Al-Salhi is a General Secretary of the Palestinian People’s Party and elected member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, who in 2005 received 2.67% of the vote for President of the PA, said that “Peres was one of the most dangerous politicians who used diplomacy to cover up Israel’s policies of occupation and settlement.”
A spokesman for Hamas in Gaza said that “Peres’ hands are awash in the Arab blood of the village of Kana village (in Lebanon), and he left this world before he could be tried for his crimes against humanity.”
Another Hamas spokesman told Ma’an, “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.”
Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas lauded Peres for reaching a “peace of the brave” with the late Yasser Arafat and the late Yitzhak Rabin (it was rumored that Peres got a long better with the former than with the latter).
The Peres Center for Peace facing the sea. (Lior Mizrahi/Flash90)
Finally, Haggai Matar, writing for the vehemently anti-Israel website 972, depicted with a rare power of observation notions harbored, not surprisingly, by the left and the right in Israel regarding Shimon Peres’ renowned legacy, The Peres Center. The center, he writes, “aptly sums up the legacy of the Nobel laureate, former prime minister and president. The Center, which itself has become a forum of extravagance for the wealthy, was built in one of the poorest areas of Jaffa’s Ajami neighborhood. It overlooks the sea, but has its back to Jaffa and its ‘Palestinian’ (our quotes) residents. Behind the decadent palace of peace, just across the poorly paved road, are impoverished and crumbling tenement blocs. In three directions the Center resembles a fortified monstrosity; only on one side, the one facing the sea, a telling westward gaze, is its glass facade magical and inviting. It is, perhaps, the perfect metaphor for Shimon Peres’s legacy.”
Of course, rightwing Jewish pundits the world over are holding themselves back with rare powers of restraint, until after the Friday funeral, and possibly after Yom Kippur (the religious among us, anyway). So, for now, it’s nice to discover a sane evaluation of the man by a lefty…