Hold Peres Accountable: Questions to Ask the President of Israel

— by David Bedein

The President of Israel, Shimon Peres, pushing 90, celebrates his longevity with a birthday bash this week that include thousands of invited guests and hundreds of reporters.

It behooves the journalists who cover the Peres birthday event to hold Peres accountable for policies that Peres stands for. In the media, longevity allows for long memories.

14 questions follow the jump.

  1. In 1981, Peres opposed and tried to interfere with Menachem Begin’s 1981 decision to bomb Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi nuclear reactor. Does Peres have any regrets for his opposition to the destruction of that nuclear reactor?
  2. Peres is proud of the Oslo peace accord which he helped facilitate between Israel and the PLO on the White House lawn on September 13, 1993. However, on October 7, 1993, the left wing newspaper Al HaMishmar revealed that the PLO would not ratify that accord, and, indeed, the PLO has never ratified that accord. Instead of heeding the Al HaMishmar report, Peres, then Israel’s foreign minister, dispatched his Deputy Minister, Yossi Beilin, to fly to Tunis to thank Arafat for ratifying the Oslo accord, which Arafat and the PLO never did. Why does Peres promote an unratified accord?
  3. In 1994, Rabin, Peres, and Arafat made an agreement that Arafat’s armed forces would comprise no more than 9,000 inductees, and that any Palestinian under arms would first have to be vetted by Israeli intelligence to ensure that he did not have a background in terror activity. Yet as early as December 1993, it was discovered that the PA had drafted two Arab residents from the Arab village of Tequa who had murdered the curator of the Herodian, David Rosenfeld, in 1982. In December, 1995, Arafat announced that his commanders for Ramallah and Nablus were men who planted bombs in Jerusalem’s Zion Square on July 5, 1975, killing thirteen people. As of 1995, the PA armed forces counted as many as 19,000 under arms by 1995 and now comprise a least 30,000. Since 1995, the IDF acknowledges that it no longer knows who has been recruited into the PA security force. Can Peres answer the question as to whether the PA armed forces now include volatile terrorists within its ranks?
  4. Throughout 1994 and 1995, when private agencies produced videos of Arafat’s speeches where Arafat expressed support for Jihad to liberate Palestine, Peres implored Israel TV not to air Arafat’s speeches in the Arabic language. Peres also asked the US Congress not to view the videos of what Arafat was saying in Arabic? Does Peres express regret for trying to obfuscate Arafat’s message in the Arabic language?
  5. In December 1994, when Peres and Rabin conducted a briefing for the media in Oslo before they both received the Nobel Peace Prize together with Arafat in, I asked them if Arafat had fulfilled his commitment to crush the Hamas. Both Rabin and Peres indicated that he would do so. A few hours later, when I asked Arafat the same question, as to whether the PLO leader would crush the Hamas, Arafat’s response was clear: “Hamas are my brothers. I will handle them in my way.” And Arafat did handle the Hamas – by bringing them into his new regime, as full coalition partners. In May, 1995, Arafat’ security forces announced that they would provide Hamas with arms. In December, 1995, Arafat invited Hamas to join his provisional regime. In 1996, Arafat appointed Hamas officials to run the religious departments and schools under his authority. By fall 2001, the IDF confirmed that Islamic terror groups train and operate in the full view of the Palestinian Authority security services, and that the Islamic terrorists get a clear message that their activity operates with the full blessing of Arafat’s regime. The promise of the Oslo process was that Arafat would crush the Hamas, not co-opt Hamas. Does Peres feel today that Arafat betrayed him?
  6. Norwegian statesmen Kare Kristiansen resigned from the Nobel Prize committee because of the Nobel Prize bestowed upon Arafat. The same  Kare Kristiansen told the Norwegian media that Peres had promised financial remuneration to fellow Nobel Prize Committee member Terje Larsen in order to ensure that he would share the Nobel Peace Prize with the late Prime Minister Rabin. In 2002, I interviewed Mr. Kristiansen and he explicitly affirmed that he had witnessed the deal made between Peres and Larsen which assured Larsen that he would be “well rewarded for his efforts.” How does Peres respond to the allegation that he paid good money for the Nobel Peace Prize?
  7. The Palestine National Council, meeting in April 1996, did not vote to nullify the PLO charter to destroy Israel. However, Peres proclaimed that Arafat did fulfill his promise to nullify amend the PLO charter. It turned out that the resolution that Arafat had told Peres that they would pass was not even brought up for a vote. What is Peres’s current perspective of the PLO charter, which was never changed?
  8. In March 2007, when a new “Palestinian unity government” was formed to include Hamas and the Fatah in a coalition government, Peres declared that “only with economics can we make peace.” Peres went on to say that if members of terrorist groups perceive economic incentives, they will cease to be terrorists. Does Peres   truly believe that a terrorist organization which acts upon a deep rooted ideology can be enticed by a good business opportunity to abandon the path of terror?
  9. Peres repeats over and over that the “gap between Israel and the PA is very small,” while consistently describing Abbes as “Israel’s hope for peace.” However, Peres refuses to comment on the war curriculum that Abbas and the PA ministry of education have introduced in the PA. Peres consistently refuses to say if he has even reviewed the new PA school books, which have introduced a curriculum of war for the next generation of Palestinian Arab school children. On March 1, 2000, Peres addressed an international colloquium for the Jewish media, where Peres announced that the PA had adopted a PA school curriculum for peace. When I pointed out to Peres that the curriculum that he had quoted from had been vetoed by the PA, Peres moved away from the microphone and said “I know.” The Israeli intelligence report on PA school books now being used in PA schools, prepared by Dr. Noah Meritor, is accessible at http://www.terrorism-info.org….  Why will Peres not comment on the current PA curriculum of war?
  10. Before the Gaza retreat, Peres, then deputy Prime Minister, Peres announced on July 7th, 2005 that the American government had allocated $2 billion to cover the costs of disengagement. That assurance was quoted by the mainstream Israeli media for months to come. However, on July 12th, 2005, the spokesman for the US treasury department told Israel’s leading business newspaper, GLOBES, that the US was not giving one penny for the Disengagement Policy. Where did Peres get the idea that the US would fund the Israel retreat from Gaza?
  11. Before Israel’s 2005 retreat from Gaza, Shimon Peres accused southern Israelis of “stoking hysteria” about the rockets and asked “What’s the big deal?”, while calling the kassam missile as a harmless. “Kassam Shmassam”, said Peres. Since the southern region of Israel has suffered  29,000 aerial attacks from Gaza and 49 people killed over the past ten years, what is Peres’s perspective on the assurances that he gave the people of Southern Israel before Israel withdrew its civilians, soldiers, and bases from Gaza?
  12. In 2011, Shimon Peres dispatched a letter of praise to J Street, one day after J-Street called on the US to support the PLO resolution at the UN Security Council calling for the halt of settlement construction, including east Jerusalem, which the Obama administration vetoed after all other permanent members voted were in favor. Does Peres have any second thoughts about sending such a letter of support to J Street?
  13. On January 4, 2013, Machmud Abbas, head of the Palestinian Authority, delivered a new year’s message in which he lauded Adolf Hitler’s Arab ally, Haj Amin Al Husseini, the Mufti of Jerusalem, as someone whose legacy should be emulated” by the Palestinian people, Since Israel’s President Shimon Peres never stops in his adulation of Abbas, Peres was asked if he would condemn Abbas’s praise of the Mufti, yet Peres refused comment on Abbas’s praise of the Mufti. Why would Peres not condemn Abbas’s praise of the Mufti?
  14. Peres continually endorses an independent Palestinian state under the leadership of Abbas, as a Palestinian state that would coexist as a peaceful neighbor with Israel. Yet UNRWA remains in tact, maintaining 5 million Arab refugees and their descendants in “temporary” refugee camps, under the premise and promise of the right of return to Arab villages that no longer exist within Israel. Why does Peres not support a change in the UNRWA mandate, which contradicts his vision of a “two state solution”?

Israel Behind The News
Funds Needed to Continue Proactive News Investigations

  • Dangers of Further US Aid to the PLO Army
  • Threat of Planned PLO Army Deployment in Hebron and Jerusalem
  • UNRWA and PA for War Curriculum, financed by US and the West
  • Conflicts of Interests of Israeli businesses invested in the Palestinian Authority

Jerusalem will not forget a true friend, Senator Dan Inouye

אִם אֶשְׁכָּחֵךְ יְרוּשָׁלָיִם, תִּשְׁכַּח יְמִינִי
If I forget you, O Jerusalem​​, let my right hand wither – Psalms 137:5

— by David Bedein

As a journalist in Israel for the past 26 years, I have met hundreds of politicians from around the world who visit Israel and laud the Jewish state with superlatives of support.

There is only one visiting politician whom I ever met who had tears in his eyes as he discussed his connection to Israel.

That was Senator Daniel Inouye, the Democrat from Hawaii who just passed away.

When I first interviewed Inouye in 1987, I held out my right hand to shake his hand, not realizing that he did not have an right arm.

Although I felt embarrassed, he went on to reassure me, with a genuine good spirit, that his loss of a right arm in the war against Germany in World War II was nothing like the losses suffered  by  the Jewish people to the Nazis.

The Senator went on to relate that in the 20 months that Inouye spent in US Army hospitals recovering from the loss of his right arm and other wounds, he learned about the Jewish death camps from a fellow officer in the hospital and that he spent his convalescence reading up on Jewish history, and, when Israel was formed in 1948, he became a registered Israeli bond salesman  — without commission.

Looking at my kippah, I will never forget how the Senator smiled and told me that he spent a few years considering conversion to Judaism, but that he did not want to make his Methodist mother uncomfortable.

This was a man whose support for Israel and the Jewish people was not deep and geunine.

Daniel Inouye will be mourned in Jerusalem.
David Bedein is the director of the Israel Resource News Agency and the Center for Near East Policy Research.

Israel Behind The News
Funds Needed to Continue Proactive News Investigations

  • Dangers of Further US Aid to the PLO Army
  • Threat of Planned PLO Army Deployment in Hebron and Jerusalem
  • UNRWA and PA for War Curriculum, financed by US and the West
  • Conflicts of Interests of Israeli businesses invested in the Palestinian Authority

Twenty Conclusions of Operation Pillar of Defense

— by David Bedein

Last week, while visiting communities struck by Gaza missiles throughout southern Israel, it was easy to discern the all pervasive anger that Israeli citizens — from all walks of life — vented against the Israeli army for halting the attack on Gaza

Civilians under the terror of aerial attacks find it hard to gain perspective on the achievements made during a one week November 2012 battle with the Hamas regime in Gaza. Indeed, this was a battle. The war with Gaza is far from over.

This time, Israel’s leaders used psychological warfare tactics against the tactics that its adversary uses.

The twenty conclusions of “Operation Pillar of Defense” follow the jump.

  1. Israeli Air Force’s pinpointed “surgical attacks” killed off Hamas leaders and deprived the Hamas regime offices of badly needed tactical and ideological leadership during the confrontation with the IDF- and Israel did so with minimum civilian casualties on the other side. Meanwhile, massive IDF attacks on the Hamas regime’s munitions tunnels signaled that the tunnel supply game is over.
  2. When the IDF held back on a land incursion into Gaza, the other side was deprived of shahidim — martyrs. Pupils in UNRWA schools in Gaza had been prepared by Hamas media professional YouTube movies of themselves, which would be screened if they would become shahidim while attacking IDF troops during any IDF incursion into Gaza. Without available dead children in the form of shahidim martyrs, it was hard for Israel’s adversaries to make the case to the world for “Israeli war crimes.”
  3. The IDF attack on Hamas TV antennas and the IDF bombing of the Hamas media center signaled that communications could now be a target of the IDF. The next step might be a cut off of all Gaza radio and TV frequencies, since these frequencies happen to be owned by Israel. These frequencies were leased by Israel and given to the newly autonomous Palestinian Arab areas in Judea, Samaria and Gaza after the Oslo accords were signed in 1993, to communicate a message of peace.
  4. A new unity of purpose swept Israel. Missile attacks on Tel Aviv and Jerusalem will help galvanize opposition in the center of the country to any possibility of a Palestinian Arab state in Judea and Samaria, which would place Tel Aviv and Jerusalem and, indeed, Israel’s only international airport, within ‘Sderot missile distance’ of any quasi-independent Palestinian Authority entity. The Hamas regime in Gaza proved that it could indeed hit the center of the country- Tel Aviv and Rishon Letzion and…Jerusalem. No longer would the people of Israel define the Hamas missile threat as limited or confined to Sderot and the Western Negev.
  5. Daily praise heaped upon Hamas during its battle with the IDF by the official media outlets of the Palestinian Authority unveiled the formal alliance forged by the Fatah regime in Ramallah with the Hamas regime in Gaza. Since the EU, the US, Canada, Australia, Russia and even the UN define Hamas as a terrorist entity, the PA embrace of Hamas will place all future assistance to the PA in jeopardy. So much for the undeserved “moderate” image of the PA.
  6. Vocal Israeli Arab citizen support for the Gaza regime as it launched missiles on the center of Israel will also not be forgotten.
  7. The Israeli surgical attacks took the wind out of the sails of anti Israel protest movements which had planned demonstrations to protest alleged Israeli “war crimes”.
  8. The Israeli military campaign, unlike any other campaign since 1967, witnessed International support for Israeli military initiative, since the IDF focused on targeted killings of Arab military leaders. On the diplomatic front, US President Obama and virtually all European leaders expressed support of Israel.
  9. The battle did not conclude with a cease fire, but, rather, with a tahadia — a respite before the resumption of hostilities — which holds no obligations for the Arabs, yet also holds no obligations for Israel. Israel can therefore demonstrate total freedom to respond when it feels like responding, with the precedent of explicit international support.
  10. After the PLO had worked for a generation to redefine the situation an “Israel-Palestinian conflict,” Israel faced an Iranian supported entity, which expanded the scope of the Gaza fighting into the international Islamic arena
  11. A key element in this battle involved a test of Tehran’s deterrent system — the threat of missiles launched from Gaza was tested. Iranians could now gauge the effect on Israel of, and the ability of Israel to respond to, intensive bombardment from Gaza in retaliation for any Israeli, US or multinational attack on Iran. Iron Dome was proven to be effective, which can’t be pleasing to Iran.
  12. Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, rather than visiting Gaza to demonstrate Egyptian solidarity with his fellow Muslim Brotherhood members (Hamas being the Palestinian branch of the MB), instead dispatched his prime minister Hesham Kandil, a minor figure, while Morsi frantically engaged in brokering an arrangement to stop the fighting. Morsi was shown to be far more concerned about keeping US financial aid flowing to Egypt than he is about anything else — Gaza, Israel, or Iran.
  13. The IDF executed a successful reserve call-up that was simultaneously huge in absolute terms (75,000 troops, compared to about 10,000 reservists mobilized before Operation Cast Lead in 12/08) yet relatively small (the total IDF head count being about 621,500), indicating that, though much of its population was under the psychological stress of bombardment, Israel was capable of fielding almost 8 times as much reserve manpower to threaten Gaza with invasion as was assembled on the Gaza border in 2008 (not counting any elements of the 177,000-strong regular army, which trains constantly and is thus better prepared for combat than the reserves) yet still managed to have 5 times as many yet to be mobilized reserves as the 75,000 that have been called up.
  14. The IDF killing of Hamas military chief, Ahmed Jabaari who masterminded Gilad Shalit’s abduction, Yahiya al-Abya, the head of Qassam’s rocket forces and Khamer Hamri, who commanded PIJ’s missile operation was each an accomplishment in and of itself.
  15. There were heart-rending casualties on the Israeli side- including the horrific murder bymissile- of Mira Sharf, the 26-year-old pregnant wife of the rabbi of the Chabad House in New Delhi, who was visiting Israel to attend a commemoration of the 2008 butchering of the couple who ran the Chabad House in Mumbai, while maiming of her husband and one of her children, only 4 years old.
  16. In conclusion, the strategic position of Israel in the region has been bolstered by the impotence of the Gazan rocket barrage, the IDF’s formidable response and the sudden unity of Israel under fire.
  17. It now remains for Israel to cope with the fact that 65% of the population of Gaza continue continue to wallow in Hamas-run UNRWA facilities under the promise of the “right of return” to “their” homes and villages which they left after the 1948 war.
  18. While villages of Gaza may develop into a prosperous entity, the one million descendants of the refugees from 1948 who live in UNRWA camps are indoctrinated to engage in an “armed struggle” to renew hostilities at any moment.
  19. The Israel Ministry of Strategic Affair, which operates out of the office of the Prime Minister’s Office, is now drawing up a comprehensive document on UNRWA, which includes recommendations regarding the the financing of UNRWA, and the UNRWA administered education system. The document will pay special attention to “the cultivation of the Palestinian ethos of struggle and resistance” in the UNRWA schools.
  20. Hamas was elected to control the administrative union and the teachers union of UNRWA in Gaza. That means that humanitarian aid and education to UNRWA in Gaza fall under direct control of a terror organization. With the UNRWA demands for cash transfers, international accountability for cash in the hands of Hamas has become a critical issue. It will now behoove donor nations to UNRWA in Gaza to ensure that humanitarian aid is not bartered by the Hamas leadership for munitions or for incitement in the UNRWA schools.

Israel Behind The News
Funds Needed to Continue Proactive News Investigations

  • Dangers of Further US Aid to the PLO Army
  • Threat of Planned PLO Army Deployment in Hebron and Jerusalem
  • UNRWA and PA for War Curriculum, financed by US and the West
  • Conflicts of Interests of Israeli businesses invested in the Palestinian Authority