The other day Shimon Peres, the patriarch of Israel’s Labour Party that lost the recent elections to the Knesset, said in an interview to Israeli radio that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon once again offered him to take up the post of foreign minister. In Peres’ words, he rejected the proposal for the same reasons he had done it several months ago. He also explained that being Israel’s foreign minister, he will have to promote the ideas of Likud and right-wing parties, but Shimon Peres is going to keep on realization of his party’s ideas. It is unlikely that someone will reproach the ex-foreign minister for the defeat at the parliamentary elections. It is highly likely that we have to do with poor tactics and strategy of the pre-election struggle on the whole and with a rather inexpressive position of the party’s leader Amram Mitzna in particular. The man lacks charisma. The situation is quite different with respect to Shimon Peres or Benjamin Netanyahu; they are heavyweights of the large-scale politics, although somebody considers them written off. Dr Abdelwahab Al-Affendi from the Center for Study of Democracy at the Westminster University published his article under the headline “Shimon Peres: Political Obituary” in The Daily Star. The author of the “obituary” wrote about the sadness with which he witnessed the defeat of Israel’s Labour Party at the recent parliamentary elections. However, the party’s defeat was even a sadder event for Former Foreign Minister Shimon Peres, “the generous Nobel Prize laureate who has to watch the country seeking salvation and protection of a war criminal.”
Al-Affendi says that Peres partly shares the burden of the Israeli leadership’s responsibility for the oppression of the Palestinian people. But at the same time he respects Peres as a politician who has been establishing contacts with those whom he called “our Arab brothers” for many years.
At present, the leader of the Labour Party is also unsympathetic for al-Affendi; the author of the article considers Peres’ position unsteady and contradictory. The scientist says that the peace process is dying out, and the Labour Party is quitting the political scene at the same time.
As for Shimon Peres, he is just one of the party’s permanent leaders; what is more, he will be 80 soon, the age is not very “creative” for a politician.
The main character of the “obituary” abstains from any comments so far. Meanwhile, some information partially connected with Shimon Peres was reported from Israel today. It concerns Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, with whom, as al-Affendi says, Peres established contacts. A Tel Aviv circuit court answered to a claim of Israel’s bus company Egged that sued Yasser Arafat to the sum of 52 million shekels (11 million dollars). This is the sum to which the company estimated the damage caused by terrorism acts committed in Egged buses since September 2000. Within the period since that time, 53 terrorism acts have been committed in Egged buses that claimed lives of 200 people. Twenty terrorism acts were committed by suicide bombers. According to the court decision, the sum of 11 million dollars will be deducted from accounts of the Palestinian administration that are currently frozen in Israeli banks.
Dmitry Chirkin PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Maria Gousseva
Read the original in Russian: http://world.pravda.ru/world/2003/5/15/39/6555_Israil.html