Comment on Education Minister's visit to Israe

Published: Sun 2 Oct 2016 11:00 PM
Comment on Govt Press Release regarding
Education Minister's visit to Israel
Press Release | 02 October 2016: Palestine Human Rights Campaign Aotearoa/New
The New Zealand Government issued a Press Release on 1 October 2016 concerning what it called Education Minister Hekia Parata's significant visit to Israel in which she extended her education visit in order to represent New Zealand at the state funeral for Shimon Peres.According to the Press Release, Hekia Parata commented: “It was a privilege to mark the passing of a national and international leader whose long life was committed to the service of his country, and to the relentless pursuit of peace”. To say that Peres had committed his life to peace is an assertion detached from reality enough, but to embellish such a claim with the term 'relentless' is to venture further into fantasy. It is difficult to believe that our Education Minister could be unaware of a history so replete with inhumanities.
Nuclear weapons and ethnic cleansing
Shimon Peres introduced nuclear weapons to the Middle East and the Zionist state remains the only-nuclear-armed power in the region. It was Peres who fostered Israel’s collusion with the UK and France to invade Egypt in 1956. The Israeli historian Ilan Pappe wrote of the:
“zeal Peres showed under Ben-Gurion’s guidance and inspiration to Judaize the Galilee. Despite the 1948 ethnic cleansing, that part of Israel was still very much Palestinian countryside and landscape. Peres was behind the idea of confiscating Palestinian land for the purpose of building exclusive Jewish towns such as Karmiel and Upper Nazareth and basing the military in the region so as to disrupt territorial contiguity between Palestinian villages and towns. This ruination of the Palestinian countryside led to the disappearance of the traditional Palestinian villages and the transformation of the farmers into an underemployed and deprived urban working class. This dismal reality is still with us today.”
Bloody barbarity
An eyewitness to one of Peres’s contributions to peace, journalist Robert Fisk, remembered entering a UN camp in Lebanon sheltering civilians that had been attacked during an offensive ordered by Peres. Fisk reported:
“When I reached the UN gates, blood was pouring through them in torrents. I could smell it. It washed over our shoes and stuck to them like glue. There were legs and arms, babies without heads, old men’s heads without bodies. A man’s body was hanging in two pieces in a burning tree. What was left of him was on fire. On the steps of the barracks, a girl sat holding a man with grey hair, her arm round his shoulder, rocking the corpse back and forth in her arms. His eyes were staring at her. She was keening and weeping and crying, over and over: “My father, my father.” If she is still alive – and there was to be another Qana massacre in the years to come, this time from the Israeli air force – I doubt if the word “peacemaker” will be crossing her lips.”
“I saw the results: babies torn apart, shrieking refugees, smouldering bodies. It was a place called Qana and most of the 106 bodies – half of them children – now lie beneath the UN camp where they were torn to pieces by Israeli shells in 1996. I had been on a UN aid convoy just outside the south Lebanese village. Those shells swished right over our heads and into the refugees packed below us.”
Peres tried to evade responsibility, saying “we did not know that several hundred people were concentrated in that camp. It came to us as a bitter surprise.” But that was a lie, Fisk tells us:
“The Israelis had occupied Qana for years after their 1982 invasion, they had video film of the camp, they were even flying a drone over the camp during the 1996 massacre – a fact they denied until a UN soldier gave me his video of the drone, frames from which we published in The Independent. The UN had repeatedly told Israel that the camp was packed with refugees.”
The man of peace posture
There is more, much more concerning the inhumanities perpetrated by Shimon Peres in pursuit of the Zionist ambition in the Middle East. But thanks to the mainstream news media and Western-aligned politicians the world knows only of the record of Shimon Peres in association with the Oslo Accords and the so-called peace process. There are reasons why the Accords have achieved nothing but the loss of even more Palestinian land and liberty. The American Professor Emeritus of International Law at Princeton University, Richard Falk, Special UN Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian Territory Occupied since 1967,tells us that:
“Peres never even wanted to reach a sustainable peace agreement with the Palestinians, but he fooled many people, including the committee in Oslo that selects the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. He was unyielding in his refusal to grant Palestinians dispossessed in 1948 any right of return. He early favoured, in fact helped initiate, and never really confronted the settlement movement as it encroached upon the West Bank and East Jerusalem. He consistently pretended to be more peace-oriented than he was.”
The 'peace process' has provided nothing more than a cover for Israel’s expansionist designs that rely on a total denial of equality to Palestinians in their own land. In 1993, Richard Falk heard Peres speak at Princeton, not long after the famous handshake on the White House lawn between Rabin and Arafat. Falk remembered that Peres had observed that the 'Palestinians’ were ‘Arabs’ and that it was for the 22 Arab countries to absorb the Palestinian refugees. Falk noted a tone of racism in Peres's voice when said his plans for normalising conditions in the Middle East would involve a plan to benefit the region in which “Israel would supply the brains, while the Arab would supply the brawn, and the combination would be a productive regional body politic.”

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