Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Israel at 60: Two Reevaluations

Shimon Peres has been on Israel's public scene for as long as there has been one; hopefully someday he'll have a biographer worthy of his fascinating story. Now in his mid-80s, he's having some second thoughts about positions he defended with true fury as recently as last decade.
I believed the separation between the West Bank and Gaza would make things easier, not harder. I did not imagine that we would leave Gaza and they would fire Qassams from there; I did not imagine that Hamas would show so strongly in the elections.
Meanwhile, over at the Guardian someone is willing to reexamine some of their pet beliefs about the evil Israelis. Admittedly, Jonathan Freedland was never the most hostile voice at the Guardian (that dubius distinction might go to Seamus Milne - or of course, to many of their guest authors). Freedland isn't much more critical than many of the voices at Haaretz, with the one crucial distinction that the Haaretz people live here and pay for their mistakes like the rest of us, while Freedland need bear no responsibility for his thoughts. Having said that, however, his reflections on Israel at 60 are interesting and reasonable, all the more so for appearing in the Guardian.


Anonymous said...

IMO, the most significant admission from Peres's interview is this one:

Haaretz: It seems that you are blaming the Palestinians more than in the past.

Peres: That's true. We became more flexible and they became more extreme.

One must raise the obvious question: Why?

Why is it that Israel's ever increasing willingness to accommodate the Palestinians' demands is rarely acknowledged by them and never reciprocated?

It's tragic that virtually no one at the Peace Now end of our political spectrum, including Peres himself, is willing to grapple with this question.

Anonymous said...


Shimon Peres is a scoundrel. Who couldn't win by popular appeal. Therefore, much of his success lays in the journalism trap. He's able to leak to the press. And, his "enemies" suffer.

It was very telling, to me, when Arik Sharon dubbed him Man #2. Yet put Olmert in that very seat. So when Sharon stroked, the prize didn't go to Peres. But to Olmert. Perhaps, for no other reason that #2 didn't include a Labor gain, should Sharon not finish his term?

It was, in my estimation, quite a block!

Today, you can buy Rodger Claire's book: RAID ON THE SUN. That tells the Israeli story about Osarik. In it, on one page, you'd learn that the operation was supposed to go off on May 10, 1981. But that the night before, Peres sent a hand-written, hand-delivered, not to Menachem Begin, letting the cat out of the bag on that mission. So it was scrubbed.

It seems that Ezer Weizman's big mouth informed Shimon.

But Begin, Arik Sharon, and Irvy, did not let this get in the way of re-planning. Again, putting the 8 IDF aircraft skyward.

It's an amazing story!

Years in the planning. And, at first using F-15's. Until, in 1979, the Shah of Iran fell. And, the American aircraft carrier was stuck with nearly 100 F-16's on their line. With no one to buy them. Hence, the call from Jimmy Carter's White House, to Begin.

See? I told you the book was exciting stuff!

Peres' letter is translated into English. And, is there to read. DISGUSTING! So what happens?

In Irsrael, Katzav is forced to give up his seat; so that the unpopular Peres can become president.