Peres in Tel Hai 311.
(photo credit: Upper Galilee Local Council)
Almost every time President Shimon Peres talks about renewing negotiations
between Israel and the Palestinians, he makes some reference to “running out of
time” to make peace.
RELATED:Peres: 'Victoria' shows Syria providing Hamas armsPresident expresses ‘kinship’ with Schalits
His preoccupation with time comes from previous
experience, as he recalled on Thursday in Tel Hai, when speaking at a State
memorial ceremony for Joseph Trumpeldor.
Trumpeldor was of the founders
of the Zion Mule Corps, who died on March 1, 1920, while defending what was then
an isolated Jewish agriculture village in the Hulah Valley in the Upper Galilee,
against a gang of Shi’ite marauders.
Peres related that in 1996, after
the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, the Americans brought him a
message to the effect that President Hafez al-Assad, the father of the current
President of Syria, was interested in reviving the peace process.
had been willing to negotiate, and suggested a face-to-face meeting – which he
noted should take place quickly because of impending elections in Israel.
Indeed, it would have been mutually advantageous to conclude a peace agreement
before the elections.
Assad agreed to the meeting, but refused to commit
to a date. That refusal is reflected in the ongoing situation of no peace no
war, said Peres.
If and when Syria’s current president, Bashar al-Assad,
decides once and for all to opt for peace, said Peres, “he will find a
responsible partner in Israel.”
Peres has repeatedly expressed sorrow for
what happened to Lebanon, which in the Israeli perspective, looked like a
probable peace partner.
“Now it’s the victim of conquest,” said Peres,
underscoring that Hezbollah, “which is subservient to Iran more than to
Lebanon,” wants to turn Lebanon – and the whole of the Galilee –into a
Yet against this backdrop, Peres saw a sign of hope in the
fact that the younger generation of the Arab world is rising up against poverty,
humiliation, tyranny and lack of progress.
The younger generation, he
said, wants to pull itself out of the cycle of poverty and emulate what has been
done by China and India in building a modern economy.
generation of the Arab world, Peres continued, wants to enter into the global
era – to be innovative and equipped with all the new technologies.
said he believes the despots can no longer distort reality, and therefore cannot
remain in control for much longer.
“The progressive Arab camp will not
shoot at its brethren,” he said. “Gaddafi and Ahmadinejad shoot at their
brethren, and this is something for which their people will not forgive them.”