Israeli President Peres was in Aqaba, Jordan giving a speech to the WEF (World Economic Forum) over the weekend. When the Israeli president along with the Israeli media entered the hall the Jordanian contingency walked out and refused until the Israelis had been removed claiming they were unwelcome in their home. This was in line with the semi-official boycott of all Israelis and Israeli-related events by professional groups in Jordan. With intervention by WEF officials who provided sufficient flattery and praise, the Jordanian contingent returned probably with a feeling of great accomplishment. Whatever makes one happy, I guess.
There had been a fair amount of consternation in Israel over the rumors and reports revolving around what President Peres had told interviewers about his intended speech (Transcript of planned speech can be seen at the end of article). His stated content relayed by the President in his various interviews inferred he would proclaim Israeli readiness to take serious measures for peace. President Peres explained in one interview that his planned statement to Abbas would be, “You are my partner and I am your partner. Let’s promote peace. I know that you know that there aren’t many differences between us. I know that you know that the differences that exist can be bridged.” Peres also reported that he plans to tell the attendees referring to the Saudi Plan with the agreed alterations reported to have been approved by the Arab League. “Israel wants peace. There is an overwhelming majority here that favors a diplomatic solution of ‘two states for two peoples’ on the 1967 lines, with mutually agreed and equitable changes to the border.”
These statements would be laid out before 800 representatives from 60 countries at the WEF confab, of which 430 will come from Middle Eastern countries. Among those attending, Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, Jordan’s King Abdullah, and United States Secretary of State John Kerry are worthy of special note as every syllable spoken by President Peres will be taken very seriously by each of them and may come back to injure Israel though that is definitely not the President’s intentions. What is unfortunate is that every day that President Peres awakens, for him it is September 14, 1993, and the Oslo Accords signing ceremony happened just yesterday and hopes of peace being imminent abound throughout the land. President Peres honestly cannot help but believe in the imminence of peace as his entire career, his entire life, revolves around reaching a peace with the Palestinians and is unable to divorce himself from the monster he, along with Ehud Barak, created, the Oslo Accords. This eternal driving impetus has forced President Peres to take the job of President of Israel beyond its normal ceremonial role and utilized the position to political ends of finally reaching the elusive peace that has eluded him for all these years. All of this must be weighed and the balance found with the rest of the body of lifetime achievements all for his love of Eretz Yisroel for she has been the one driving love of his life. It is that love that has so captured his mind in that singular focus of effort towards peace at any cost and that is what has become a dangerous force that has backfired so completely. The wrong turn the peace process took is not the fault of President Peres, Ehud Barak, Yitzhak Rabin, or any of the Israeli Prime Ministers who have gone to monumental lengths trying to make peace, but the fault resides with the deceits and deceptions of Yasser Arafat and his second in command, Mahmoud Abbas, who utilized the Oslo Accords and the entire peace process as a weapon in a war to eradicate Israel by whatever means necessary. That President Peres became enslaved into making a peace no matter the costs is not something to be denounced and does not place him as a target for blame but rather he is to be accepted for the goodness in his heart. Keeping this in mind, Israeli leadership will also need to rescue Israel from being harmed by those who actually intend to damage Israel by using President Peres’s words spoken out of an honest and overwhelming desire to find at long last a peace for his first love, Israel.
There will be many who will warn of the great harm presumably caused by President Peres and his words spoken in Jordan. There will be those who will convict him of politicizing the Presidency. Some may even denunciate President Peres as being an enemy out to destroy Israel placing her people in great peril. May those who may choose this path please consider all of what President Peres has accomplished for Israel, consider that Simon Peres has held virtually every critical position in the Israeli government and always with honor and honesty, and remember that President Peres began his life helping to form, build and establish Israel and has dedicated his life and every ounce of his efforts all for and in the service of Israel. Let he who has a record near as distinguished be the first to speak, but that would leave almost everybody silent, wouldn’t it. For those who care, read his actual speech below and you decide whether or not President Peres deserves praise or condemnation.
Beyond the Cusp
Transcript of Israeli President Peres’s speech at the
World Economic Forum in Aqaba, Jordan.
Thank you, Your Majesty, for graciously hosting us under your roof.
Your Majesty, thank you for inspiring the Middle East with responsibility and hope.
Ladies and Gentleman,
History is made of biographies of men and women who failed to forecast the future. We were born in the age of agriculture, and reborn in the age of science.
This new age changed our agenda and our lives. Depending on land divided people. Borders were marked and armies were built to defend them. The yields of the land hung on the travail of farmers, and the grace of heaven that blessed us with rain or punished us with drought.
The yields were limited.
Science is borderless, and its achievements are limitless. Armies cannot control science. Police cannot arrest innovation. Globality and isolation do not go together. Modern agriculture is cultivated with computers, rather than with ploughs. Sciences enables us to make three drops of water from one drop.
Israel’s shortage of soil and rain has created an agriculture based on hi-tech. Israel is sharing its experience with many other countries and is willing to share it with its neighbors as well. Israel is moved by developments, not just by events.
Looking at the developments in the Middle East today, it is blessed with a young generation, one of the youngest in the world. 99 million of its inhabitants are already online. The young generation uses modern tools to enter the new age.
Friends, the Arab Spring voiced by so many youngsters may become an opportunity for jobs and progress. The age of science calls for economic cooperation, educational exchanges, and scientific collaboration. It provides equal opportunities for young and old, and equal rights for women.
Despite the many hurdles on the way to peace, we must never lose sight of the positive developments in our region. Egypt and Israel made peace. Jordan and Israel made peace. These agreements stand the test of time.
We extend our hand in peace to all countries in the Middle East.
There is no country, no religion, which we consider as enemies. The only enemies are the enemies of peace. The Iranian people are not our enemies. It is the Iranian regime’s policy which is a threat to us all.
Our region, and the whole world, cannot accept this brutal regime’s hegemonic ambitions. And the international community cannot tolerate brutal threatening weapons as a norm for the rest of the world.
Friends, we and our Palestinian neighbors must return to negotiations as soon as possible and bring peace. President Abbas, you are our partner and we are yours. You share our hopes and efforts for peace, and we share yours. We can and should make the breakthrough. We should not permit the hurdles to overcome us. History will judge us not by the process of negotiations, but by its outcome. The today obstacles will pale in the light of peace.
The “Arab Peace Initiative” is a meaningful change and a strategic opportunity. It replaces the strategies of war with the wisdom of peace.
We must depart from the skepticism that claims that war is inevitable.
War is not inevitable. Peace is inevitable.
We appreciate the presence of the American Secretary of State John Kerry at this gathering. Secretary Kerry brings with him an impressive momentum and desire to contribute to the completion of the peace process. It will be matched with an imaginative economic plan. President Obama, while visiting our region, offered a new opening for the peace prospect. Dear John, I know that all sides can count on your determination.
The peace process already has a beginning. We have agreed on a common ground to complete it. A two state solution. A Jewish state — Israel — and an Arab state — Palestine. Living side by side in peace, dignity and freedom.
Friends, we Israelis and Palestinians are aware that peace is first and foremost for us and depends upon us. I know from experience how difficult these decisions are to make, on both sides. But this is the time.
Our leaders must say yes to a future of peace.
Our leaders must overcome the difficulties and the dangers, and lead their peoples to a better tomorrow. What holds back the renewal of the peace negotiations are some gaps in the bridge between the beginning and the conclusion. Knowing very well the nature of the missing link, I am convinced that this gap can be bridged.
Ladies and Gentlemen, there is still an open wound on the map and this is the terrible bloodshed in Syria. Secretary Kerry is currently trying to bring an end to this tragedy. Israel is not intervening in the Syrian crisis. We support the Secretary’s efforts to bring an end to the violence. We are silent, but not indifferent. There is a need to lower the flames.
Ladies and Gentleman, the potential in our region is remarkable. The attempts to release this potential are worthy and needed. We welcome the efforts of “Breaking the Impasse” initiative.
The fact that hundreds of business leaders from both sides are joining hands to promote the two-state solution and to emphasize the urgency in reaching that solution is an important development. These people can attest to how valuable peace is for economic prospective. Peace should be made between people, not just between governments.
Friends, I am here to express the hope and desire of the Israeli people to bring an end to the conflict and a beginning to a peaceful new age. I hope that this forum will voice a timely call against skepticism. I pray that it will allow for tomorrow’s horizon to shine bright. A horizon that will illuminate the fruits of freedom, science and progress.
Let us cast away the divides and suspicions of the past as a future of harmony awaits. We are still writing the biography of the unknown future.
My friends, it must be a future of peace.