It’s a sombre day of reflection for Israel as the nation commemorates the passing of Shimon Peres.
He held many political positions in his long career, not least as Prime Minister, President, Foreign Minister and Deputy Defence Minister.
Having said that, he will possibly be best remembered for the one role that he represented in no official capacity – that of peace minister.
The deeply flawed Oslo Accords of which he was co-architect may have been enthusiastically (albeit amateurishly) envisioned, but they were poorly executed because there never was any requirement for Israel’s so-called “peace partners” in Ramallah to honour the accords they signed. In the non-existent execution of those much-lauded but largely hollow peace accords, Shimon Peres is perhaps largely to blame for not ensuring a more robust mechanism for their enforced implementation.
Those failures and that naivete aside, there is no doubting his principles, his ethics, his commitment to the idea of peace and of compromise for achieving that peace.
Hopefully Israel’s purported “partners for peace” in Ramallah will sieze this landmark event, the coming together of world leaders to honour the achievements of Shimon Peres at his funeral on Friday, to make one last final attempt to put peace on the achievable political horizon.
Of course that is not very likely as peace is in fact a direct threat to everything Mahmud Abbas believes in and wants. Hopefully, however, other world powers including pragmatic leaders of various Arab and other Muslim states, will drag him to the negotiating table as a mark of respect in honour of Shimon Peres, the Jew who put his political life and his nation’s survival on the line to give Muslim Arabs the independence they claim they want despite the machinations of their leaders in Ramallah.
Because if this opportunity is lost on Friday, there most likely will never be another. Deeply flawed or not, there is no other political figure on the Israeli scene who would even consider making the extensive outreach gestures for which Shimon Peres was noted.
Not in the poisonous climate of distrust and hate that Abbas has deliberately created, despite the best efforts of Shimon Peres.
Shimon Peres, co-architect of the abysmally failed Oslo Accords, did not live to see those accords implemented. And that’s probably a good thing. But the ideas behind them – of peace, security and prosperity for EVERYONE in the region irrespective of religion, ethnicity and political affiliation – will ultimately have to be realised in one way or another.
The only question that remains is this: how much more is Mahmud Abbas, busy counting his personal fortune of EU- and UN-donated billions, willing to force his people to forego as they avoid the legacy so painfully built up over a quarter of a century of Fatah lies, racism, terrorism and corruption? And there’s the accompanying increasing despair of Arabs throughout the Jewish provinces of Judea and Samaria – the Jewish territories that the Arabs demand as their judenrein, ethnically cleansed Palestine – who see their leaders grow fatter as they themselves continue to live on UNRWA handouts.
Which would make this “Palestine” the 23rd non-functional Arab Muslim state in the region.
Not the vision that Shimon Peres nurtured.