Shimon Peres, Israel’s king of deception

Israeli deception

By Jamal Kanj

Outgoing Israeli President Shimon Peres spoke in a recent interview about a peace agreement he had reached with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in 2011.

According to Peres, the Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, a rejected the draft understanding, telling him “to wait a few days for Tony Blair could get a better offer”. Peres continued: “The days passed and there was no better offer,” and there was no peace agreement.

Peres’s interview reveals three important issues regarding the peace process and the botched role of the so-called “peace mediators”.

First, Netanyahu is more interested in maintaining his anti-peace government coalition than in a peace accord.

Second, the peace mediators are undermining the prospects of peace.

Third, the Palestinian leaders need to go back to the drawing board and take a crash course in the art of negotiation.

…the Netanyahu government increased by 123.7 per cent the number of building permits for Jews-only housing in the West Bank. Most of these were approved during the “peace talks” in the last six months of the year.

On the first point, Israel must be pleased with the status quo, building illegal colonies with impunity under the guise of peace negotiations and with no urgent need to reach a peace agreement. Not that Israel doesn’t want it, but not until it realizes its demographic programme.

This is not an opinion. It is a well established fact that the parties forming the current Israeli government are ideologically opposed to the peace process and to halting the expansion of the Jews-only colonies on occupied land.

According to an official Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics (ICBS) report in 2013, the Netanyahu government increased by 123.7 per cent the number of building permits for Jews-only housing in the West Bank. Most of these were approved during the “peace talks” in the last six months of the year.

This is consistent with the bona fide position of previous Israeli governments which saw the number of illegal Jewish settlers grow three-fold since the start of the deeply flawed Oslo process over 20 years ago.

Responding to the ICBS report, the Israeli Peace Now organization concluded that Netanyahu’s government is “committed to only one thing: building settlements”, not peace.

This fact is well known to the American officials who politically and financially empowered Israel’s violations of the peace process. Interviewed by former Israeli soldier-turned US journalist Jeffrey Goldberg, President Barack Obama lamented: “We have seen more aggressive settlement construction over the last couple of years than we’ve seen in a very long time.”

The second revealing point is the fact that the Israeli prime minister counts on the Middle East Quartet’s mediator, Tony Blair, to bring him a “better offer” than his own Zionist president. Netanyahu must have known this because his former adviser and ex-Israeli army officer Lianne Pollak had served as Blair’s consultant.

Another mediator, US Secretary of State John Kerry himself, keeps reminding us of his “commitment to Israel”, and his lead negotiator, Martin Indyk, is a former policy director for the leading US Zionist lobby, the America Israel Public Affairs Committee, AIPAC.

Before the pie disappears, the upcoming Palestinian unity government should be tasked not just with elections, but in parallel it must join “real” UN organizations and thereby take the process away from phony peace mediators.

Last but not least, one can’t comprehend the Palestinian leaders’ wisdom in negotiating agreements that couldn’t be carried out. They did it in the 2001 Taba agreement with then outgoing Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, only to be rejected by Ariel Sharon when he came to office.

Abbas also negotiated an understanding at the end of Olmert’s reign which was trashed by succeeding Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu.

And now, Abbas was hoodwinked again by the king of deception himself, the ceremonial Israeli president, Peres. Side negotiations are Machiavellian Israeli tactics. For each time and with every meaningless agreement, “deceptive” unofficial Israeli negotiators chip on a piece of the Palestinian pie, with nothing reciprocated from the “official” Israeli government.

Before the pie disappears, the upcoming Palestinian unity government should be tasked not just with elections, but in parallel it must join “real” UN organizations and thereby take the process away from phony peace mediators.

It would be impossible to reach a just agreement when “peace” intermediaries are ideologically committed to one side and when an Israeli prime minister expects better results from them than his own president.


A version of this article was first published by the Gulf Daily News newspaper. The version here is published by permission of Jamal Kanj.

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