Alwaght– Shimon Peres’s death on Wednesday at the age of 93 in a hospital bed instead of prison, means once again that justice has not been served. While the Israelis may show that they have lost one of the founding fathers of their regime, for the Palestinians, Peres’s passing away adds one more to the list of occupiers responsible for their suffering but who have not been held accountable for their crimes.
The Western media was quick to react to Peres’s death with biography pieces and lists of his accomplishments as a politician and former president of the Israeli regime. However, in order to know who Peres really was, one only has to examine the crimes he committed against Palestinians and other peoples in the region.
Peres himself is a symbol of the conflicting views of the Israeli regime’s existence in the West and the region, the first being a polished image of a peacemaker who won the Nobel Prize, and the latter the reality of a bloody colonialist Zionist.
Peres’s family settled in Palestine in the 1930s where he joined the Haganah, the group responsible for the ethnic cleansing of Palestinian villages in 1947-49 during the Nakba, the forced mass exodus of Palestinians from their lands.
Later in his life, Peres was to hold several ministerial positions in addition to serving as prime minister twice and president once.
In the West, he is seen as the man who played a major role in the negotiations that resulted in the 1993 Oslo Accords.
Yet Peres’s peaceful image of a dove in the West, is refuted with that of the hawk in Palestine and the region.
To begin with, Peres has been described as “an architect of Israel’s nuclear weapons programme” which, to this day, “remains outside the scrutiny of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).” This is because of his role during the time he served as war minister in the 50’s and 60’s.
Obtaining a nuclear weapon can only be for two purposes: selling it and using it. In 1975, Peres reportedly offered then South African Defense Minister PW Botha to sell nuclear warheads to the apartheid regime. Of course, this is only one offer that has been spoken about.
As for its usage, it remains to be seen.
He also had a part in the mass land theft and displacement of Palestinians as director general of the war ministry. Article 125, for example, permitted Israeli forces to spread on Palestinian land and declare it a closed military zone. Back then, the Palestinian owners were denied access to their properties. Conveniently, the Israelis confiscated these territories for allegedly being uncultivated.
Peres claimed this article to be a way to “directly continue the struggle for Jewish settlement and Jewish immigration.”
The deceased politician was also responsible for attempts to reduce Palestinian presence in the Galilee. This was meant to increase the Jewish population and sweep over the region. Peres deemed the Palestinians, the people whose land was occupied by the Israeli regime, as a “demographic threat.”
While many Israelis accuse Peres of undermining the importance of settlement construction, he is in fact partly responsible for the development of the settlement enterprise.
During his term in the 70’s, several West Bank settlements were constructed including Ofra. His slogan was: “Settlements everywhere.”
Recently, he claimed introduced a so-called peace plan that would keep most Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank.
Blood in Qana
Peres has blood on his hands, including that of Lebanese civilians who were killed in a massacre during “Operation Grapes of Wrath” in 1996. Then prime minister, he ordered the operation in which 154 people were killed in Lebanon and hundreds of others were injured.
In a small south Lebanon village known as Qana, the scene was horrific. Israeli warplanes had shelled a United Nations compound killing 106 civilians who were hiding there.
Peres expressed no remorse over the incident.
“Everything was done according to clear logic and in a responsible way,” he said. “I am at peace.”
The UN stated that the attack could not have been a mistake.
Attacks on Gaza
Nobel Laureate Peres is also a warmonger. He has supported collective punishment and bloodshed in the Gaza Strip in the last three wars.
In 2009, Peres justified the brutality of Israeli forces against Palestinians by saying that the purpose of the assault “was to provide a strong blow to the people of Gaza so that they would lose their appetite for shooting at Israel.”
Three years later he continued to support the systematic killing of Palestinians in Gaza, acting as a spin doctor in Western media.
In the summer of 2014, Peres defended the killing of four children who were playing in the beach when they were bombarded.
Peres blamed the Palestinians for the bloodshed.
“If Gaza ceases fire, there will be no need for a blockade,” said Peres in 2014 to champion the Israeli blockade on the strip. The suffering of the Palestinians as a result of this siege is considered to be collective punishment.
Peres has gone as far as describing the Palestinians as “self-victimising” as if there were no oppressor, as if the Israelis were not victimising them.
He stated: “They victimise themselves. They are a victim of their own mistakes unnecessarily.”
The international community is largely at fault for allowing the Israelis to soak in their own ego and accuse their victims of the crimes they commit against them.
Had the international community brought criminals like Peres to justice, perhaps Palestinians would have a fair fight, perhaps the occupation would even end on its own because that is what it is based on: crimes and the knowledge that they can get away with it.
Peres was not prosecuted for the crimes he committed against Palestinians. He was not indicted for the massacre in Qana. He died on Wednesday with most of the world praising his “peace” efforts and so little addressing the injustice he left behind.