Israeli President Shimon Peres Outlines A Path To Piece
Ronen Bergman’s interview with Israeli President Shimon Peres in Sunday’s New York Times Magazine shows Peres’ remarkable wisdom at age 89, and his clear distaste for Prime Minister Benjamin Netenyahu.
Peres’s clash with Netanyahu over Iran is only one of many disagreements between the two men. On the one hand, Netanyahu is a conservative prime minister who relies on a hard-line, hawkish coalition and who is likely to win next week’s Israeli elections by a landslide. On the other, 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.
Some gems from Peres:
- The problem is that Obama would like to reach peace in the Middle East and has to be convinced that Israel agrees with this.
- President Obama thinks that peace should be made with the Muslim world. We, the State of Israel, do not appear to be thinking along those lines.
- Without U.S. support, it would be very difficult for us. We would be like a lone tree in the desert.
- We do not agree in our evaluations of [Palestinian Authority President] Abu Mazen. I do not accept the assertion that Abu Mazen is not a good negotiating partner. To my mind, he is an excellent partner.
- 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.
- President Obama asked me who I think is preventing democracy in the Middle East. I told him, “The husbands.” The husband does not want his wife to have equal rights. Without equal rights, it will be impossible to save Egypt…
- If I have another 10 years to live, I am sure that I will have the privilege of seeing peace come even to this dismal and wonderful and amazing part of the world.
And my favorite:
- There are two things that cannot be made without closing your eyes — love and peace.