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photo by Rhonda Spivak

photo by Rhonda Spivak

Photo by Rhonda Spivak

photo by Rhonda Spivak

Up Close with Shimon Peres- One Sport I don't Like is Jumping.

Peres Says avoiding early negotiations with the PLO was one of his mistakes

Rhonda Spivak, June 24, 2012

At the Israeli Presidential Conference in Jerusalem last week, I attended a special session given by Shimon Peres for writers on the net attended, giving them an opportunity to ask him questions.

Peres, who looks exactly the same as he did five years ago when I last saw him, was asked whether it wasn't the case that time has already run out for a two state solution. Is a contiguous Palestinian state even viable anymore--such that a one state was the only option?

Peres responded "I like Sports. One sport I don't like is jumping," adding that he doesn't accept "jumping to conclusions" by saying time has run out for the two state solution. "There is no better solution or just one than having two states"- "two states for two people's living side by side in mutual recognition, security and peace." He re-iterated "So I don't accept this jumping to conclusions: This remains the best solution."

The president even went as far as saying that avoiding early negotiations with the PLO was one of his mistakes, saying: "They killed our people. We said, 'how can we speak with murderers." It was a mistake. By not talking, they would continue to shoot. But talking, maybe they would have stopped."

Israel can't make peace with "open eyes,"  Peres said  adding that sides must forget about the past and focus on the future to end the years-long

Peres said that his "own conclusion of how not to make mistakes is close your eyes a little. You cannot make love and you cannot make peace with open eyes."

 "The past is dead. You can't correct it. Can you correct something that is dead? Can you correct the past? Focus on the future. You have to take risks," he added, saying: "You have to choose between two sorts of mistakes. You do nothing and that is a mistake, or you do something that could cause the mistakes."

"It's better to try, do something and maybe you will have a success. If you don’t try, you won’t make a mistake, but you won't have a success," he added.

Addressing the conference's participants, the president said that the "first mistake I have learned from my life is don’t look for perfection. You will make mistakes. You need to be satisfied with allowing people to live together. Perfection can be a desire, but we can’t achieve it in the foreseeable future."

He said that we need to be "working on peace so time won't run out" but you also "need patience in life."

One man Peres has lost patience with is Syrian President Bashar Assad. "In my judgement Assad has stopped to be an alternative even if you don't know who will replace him." He said "a man that kills his own babies" can no longer remain in power". The question is "what is the best approach' to remove Assad from power-and in his view, "the United States and the UN should empower the Arab League to introduce the change"--as opposed to the US being the one to directly intervene such that they will be accused by the Arab world of "foreign intervention."

The day before the session occurred Hamas had just lobbied close to 100 missiles on southern Israel, in the Ashkelon area, and Peres was asked about this. "Hamas has to make a choice to run Gaza or to run terror. If they'll continue to fire, we don't have a choice but to stop it." He went on asking "What is the purpose of shooting [rockets]? There are no Israeli soldiers in Gaza. They are free. What do they want? I think that this is the question being asked by the Gazan people. According to the Arab polls, many of the polls in Gaza are for Fatah, not Hamas ---they [the people in Gaza] want to live.

On the subject of Iran, Peres said that the sanctions that have been taken "have had an impact", and "brought the Iranians to the negotiating table, but the Iranians came half-hearted" and because of this Obama has said "All options are on the table."

At the blogger's session Peres was asked what he wanted for his next birthday--his 90th--and he said "I want that everyone else in the world will have a Happy Birthday."

Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu was to have delivered a live address at the closing plenary of the conference but instead he delivered a taped message, since he broke his leg after kicking a soccer ball, and his leg is in a cast.

Peres explained "The Prime Minister didn't come since he didn't want to stand before you and deliver his speech on one leg."





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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

Opinions expressed in letters to the editor or articles by contributing writers are not necessarily endorsed by Winnipeg Jewish Review.