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Red Rag column - Shimon Peres
By: Gideon Spiro
06 October 2016

After one funeral

The big winner at Shimon Peres’ funeral was Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. Leaders from the four corners of the Earth gathered in the land of Israeli apartheid. Netanyahu can give a thumbs-up, for all the talk about BDS represents a small and insignificant group compared to the dozens of heads of state he hosted.

The words of praise the heads of state gave at Peres’ funeral, as if he were the world champion of peace, made me wonder if they had mistakenly come to the wrong funeral. It was precisely on matters of peace that Peres’ achievements were painfully meagre. His big contribution to Israel, from the point of view of the Israeli Establishment and the public opinion that feeds off it was the conversion of Israel from an orange-exporting country to one that produces arms and exports them to tyrannical regimes.

Peres himself saw the creation of the nuclear reactor at Dimona and the Israeli arms industry as his greatest achievements. Since Peres was in the inner corridors of power since 1948, he bore responsibility, either directly or indirectly, for the failures of the government.
Here is a partial list:

• The ethnic cleansing of 1948, which saw the expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their homes.

• The 1956 war – harnessing Israel to the wagons of two declining imperial powers, France and the UK, to prevent the nationalization of the Suez Canal. An unnecessary war that killed hundreds of Israelis and thousands of Egyptians.

• The Kfar Qasim massacre, in which dozens of villagers were slaughtered by Border Guards as they were returning to their homes from work in the fields.

• The military government (1948-1966) that was imposed on Arab citizens of Israel, and which subjugated them to the army, violating their basic rights.

• The creation of the nuclear reactor at Dimona, which launched a nuclear arms race in the Middle East. To this very day it endangers the citizens of the State of Israel due to its location in the Great Rift Valley, which is prone to earthquakes.

• The June 1967 war – a war that converted Israel into a colonial apartheid state, the harm of which is spread out over 50 years of Occupation. A war that has still not ended.

• Supporting settlements like Ofra, the “plague” of the settlements, which block any peace agreement and render Israel’s talk of peace devoid of content, as long as this terrorist menace is not removed.

• Supporting the annexation of Palestinian East Jerusalem, which converted Jerusalem into an apartheid city in an apartheid state.

• The rejection of peace and the megalomaniacal arrogance that brought about the Yom Kippur War (1973). In that war Israel paid an unbearably heavy price, nearly 3,000 killed and 7,000 wounded.

• Nuclear cooperation between Israel and the Apartheid regime in South Africa. President Obama got carried away in his eulogy and likened Peres to Mandela. While Mandela was sitting in prison as a freedom fighter against Apartheid, Peres was staying in South African hotels as a guest of its government, and Israel was hosting the military and political elite of the Apartheid state.

• He initiated and supported the privatization of the economy, a process the fruits of which we see today in the intolerable gap between the tycoons and employment agency workers.

• The Bus 300 Affair, in which two Palestinian prisoners were murdered by Ehud Yatom on the instructions of the then Israel Security Agency head Avraham Shalom. Peres cooked up a conspiracy according to which the murderers would not be brought to justice and the Attorney General, Yitzhak Zamir, who rejected the deal, was dismissed.

• The kidnapping of Mordechai Vanunu. Israel acted like a terrorist organization that kidnaps civilians, ignoring extradition treaties it had signed. Vanunu was kidnapped after he realized the democratic principle of the public’s right to know. The harassment of Vanunu continues to this day. That too is part of Peres’ legacy.

•The Oslo Accord – one of the biggest frauds perpetrated by the Israeli government. An agreement that bypassed the basic issues of the conflict: the settlements, a Palestinian state and the refugees, and under its aegis roads were built to the settlements that bypassed Arab villages.

• The Qana massacre in Lebanon, in which 100 civilians were killed, who had sought shelter from IDF bombing in Operation Grapes of Wrath.

• As President, Peres put his international prestige at the disposal of the wicked peace-refusing government led by Binyamin Netanyahu.
At all those junctures Peres stood alongside his friends and partners. Sometimes his responsibility was direct, sometimes indirect. And that is why peace-lovers are protesting.

There were also positive points in his public career, such as, for example, controlling inflation as part of the National Unity government. Also to his credit was his change of heart on matters related to the settlements in the 1980s, which was partial and not accompanied by action. The establishment of the Peres Center for Peace is also worthy of appreciation for bringing Jewish and Arab youth together.

*** *** ***

A letter I wrote to the judge, Dr. Shaul Avinor

27 September 2016
To the judge Dr. Shaul Avinor
Tel Aviv Magistrates’ Court
Weizmann Street 1
Tel Aviv 6423901

On Friday 23 September 2016 Haaretz reported that you convicted the Israeli citizen Adel Amsis of desecrating the flag of the state. You are quoted as having written in the verdict: “In the modern world the flag of the nation serves as the clearest symbol of the honour of the nation and of its unity”. I have not read such nonsense in a long time. In the democratic modern world, desecrating the flag of the state is part of freedom of expression, and part of the right to legitimate political protest.

You do not live in the democratic modern world. Your ruling leaves the impression that you derive inspiration from fascist regimes in which the flag is an expression of the unity of the nation. I am a refugee from Nazi Germany, where the flag was treated as a holy thing that expressed the honour and unity of the nation. How sad that in a state where I found refuge there sits a judge who thinks in terms of the state from which I escaped.
There is not and there cannot be unity between supporters of the Occupation and its opponents. Between defenders of human rights and those who defend the regime of apartheid in the Occupied Territories. There is no unity between those who burn an Arab youth to death and those who struggle for the right to life for all who were created in the image. There is no unity between a ruling like yours and a judge with a democratic consciousness.

You and your kind deserve contempt. If anyone should be put on trial here, it is you, for bringing the judicial profession into contempt and abusing your position of authority.

With all due disrespect,

Gideon Spiro

Translated from Hebrew for Occupation Magazine by George Malent

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