Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign
التضامن الإيرلندي الفلسطيني

Shimon Peres: An unpunished war criminal and apologist for apartheid

Amid the inevitable deluge of whitewashed eulogies to former Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres who died today, it is important to recall his real record in Israeli politics.

Shimon Peres was the father of Israel’s illegal nuclear weapons program, and who offered to sell nuclear technology to Apartheid South Africa. In 1986 he oversaw the operation that led to the kidnap and imprisonment of Israeli nuclear whistle-blower Mordechai Vanunu, who has been a prisoner of Israel in one form or another ever since.

Between 1974 and 1977 Peres was Defence Minister when his government continued the building of illegal Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian lands, and he remained a lifelong opponent of even the mildest of sanction on these colonies, which are classified as war crimes under the Geneva Conventions. In 1996, he ordered an attack on Lebanon in which Israeli forces killed over 160 civilians, including at the infamous massacre at Qana. Of this Peres was quoted as saying that “everything was done according to clear logic and in a responsible way. I am at peace.”

During the final decade of his life, while being hailed as a peacenik, Peres could always be relied upon to support almost every Israeli atrocity against the people of Palestine. He gave outspoken support to the cruel and illegal siege of Gaza, and praised the repeated brutal assaults on Gaza in 2006, 2009, 2012 and 2014 which collectively killed over 4,000 Palestinians, the vast majority of them civilians. For example, of the 2009 attack, he openly praised it’s aim to illegally collectively punish saying it was “was to provide a strong blow to the people of Gaza” and praised the “national solidarity behind the military operation [as] Israel’s finest hour”.

In the end, Peres remained an unpunished war criminal and an unrepentant apologist for Israel’s apartheid, occupation, colonisation, racism and war crimes who viewed Palestinians as a “demographic threat”, and whose vision for the region was never about freedom, justice and equality for all the peoples of Palestine-Israel, but of colonial pacification of the Palestinian people and the sidelining of their alienable rights.

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