Shimon Peres is the new honey-bunny of American liberals, the anti-Netanyahu. Chris Matthews adored him last night. And The New York Times has a big piece on Peres by an… Israeli journalist, Ronen Bergman. Writes Bergman:
Peres is Israel’s elder statesman, who, very late in his life, has attained a degree of popularity that eluded him throughout his earlier career. In a survey conducted by the Israel Democracy Institute, 84 percent of Jewish respondents said Peres was trustworthy, while 62 percent thought Netanyahu was.
So a poll publicized respectfully by the New York Times as a measure of Peres’s “popularity” excludes Palestinian citizens of Israel– and it’s from a “Democracy Institute”! How would Americans feel about a poll of Americans, excluding blacks?
And doesn’t the explicitly-racist poll undermine Peres’s subsequent statement:
“Most of the world will support the Palestinians, justify their actions, level the sharpest criticism at us, falsely label us a racist state.”
More. Peres says:
He [Netanyahu] also made the Bar-Ilan speech [in which Netanyahu accepted the idea of a Palestinian state].”
But as Akiva Eldar points out, Netanyahu has abandoned the speech and his coalition would vanish if he endorsed it. Let alone a word from author of just how watered down Netanyahu’s conception of a Palestinian state was; in apartheid South Africa we would have called it a collection of Bantustans.
Bergman does at least ask this (which leads Peres to go all Brent Musburger on the reader):
Bergman: Today, there are 550,000 settlers in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. There are those who believe that the settlers have eliminated any chance of establishing a Palestinian state, because no one would be able to evacuate these politically motivated people from their homes, which is a necessary condition for any agreement with the Palestinians.
Peres: The settlers have not eliminated the chance for the establishment of a Palestinian state. The settlements today cover 2 percent of the entire area. The Palestinians have already accepted the Clinton parameters, which include leaving three blocs of Jewish settlements and exchanging other territory for them. In my opinion, many of the rest will leave of their own free will. The difficulty with us is similar to that of the man with a hammer who thinks every problem is a nail. Problems are not nails. If there is good will, they can all be overcome. This applies, for example, to the issue of water. Soon there will be a surplus of water in Israel, thanks to seawater desalination, and we will be able to make up the Palestinians’ shortage of potable water. Look, the whole world is in turmoil. The Palestinian problem isn’t the main problem in the Middle East. But there are a billion and a half Muslims. The Palestinian problem affects our entire relationship with them. If the Palestinian problem were to be solved, the Islamist extremists would be robbed of their pretext for their actions against us. Of course, this requires concessions. The problem in this case is not only the prime minister but also his coalition. I am not claiming that peace with the Palestinians will solve all the problems. People who think in sweeping terms are being superficial. There are two things that cannot be made without closing your eyes — love and peace. If you try to make them with open eyes, you won’t get anywhere. Peace is not an exciting thing, and it entails accepting many compromises and tedious details. A woman, too, can sometimes be exciting and sometimes less so. There’s no perfection. Making peace is complicated.
No follow up here from Bergman on Israel’s lack of compliance with international law and demands, though Peres cites international demands on Hamas:
If Hamas accepts international demands, forsakes terror, stops firing missiles at us and recognizes the existence of the State of Israel, it will be possible to open negotiations.