Daily Israel Report

Peres Praises Oslo Architect 'Peace Fighter'

Peres eulogizes 'peace fighter' Pundak who was 'ready to do anything for peace'; Olmert calls him 'man of justice, most realistic Israeli.'
By Ari Yashar
First Publish: 4/11/2014, 3:09 PM

Shimon Peres
Shimon Peres
Flash 90

President Shimon Peres eulogized Ron Pundak on Friday, after the 1993 Oslo Accords architect passed away at the age of 59 earlier in the day, following a long bout with cancer.

Pundak was a "peace fighter to his last breath," according to Peres, who "devoted his entire adult life in efforts to achieve peace between us and our neighbors. He was ready to do anything for peace. In terms of peace he knew no compromise...peace burned in him like an eternal flame."

It is worth noting that Pundak's Oslo Accords allowed the PLO terrorist organization to establish an armed presence in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, and formed the Palestinian Authority (PA). Intifada terror wars resulting from the accords costs thousands of Israeli lives.

Peres further praised the semi-religious "belief" in peace held by Pundak, who served as the Director of the "Peres Center for Peace" until 2013.

"The struggle for peace in our days is not easy, and is surrounded by many skeptics and not enough believers, but a believer like (Pundak) gave faith momentum and inertia," added Peres.

During the last Arutz Sheva annual Jerusalem conference in February, Pundak called PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas "one of the most honest people in the world," adding that he was "straight as a ruler."

Just last Tuesday, Abbas effectively torpedoed peace talks by breaching the talk conditions and applying to join 15 international conventions.

Regarding Peres's talk of "believers," it is notable that in January the president voiced support for a plan to have Jews lived under the PA in Judea and Samaria, saying "what's this fear that's struck us suddenly? They'll kill Jews? Today?" Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) figures note that terrorist attacks skyrocketed in 2013, with 1,042 attacks taking place in Judea and 229 in Samaria.

Pundak was a 'man of justice,' says Olmert

Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert also got in on the action, saying "when Pundak initiated and started the Oslo process I thought he was wrong. I'm glad that I managed to tell him in his life that, like many other times, he was part of the small minority of visionaries and men of justice."

Just last Monday, Olmert was convicted on corruption charges for taking bribes in the infamous Holyland corruption scandal.

"We who opposed (Oslo), and I was one of them, were wrong," claimed Olmert. "Of all the Israelis I know, he was the most realistic regarding the vision of peace, and the most courageous of all."

Attorney Itamar Ben-Gvir commented on Olmert's conviction last week, linking Olmert and former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon as architects of the 2005 "Disengagement" plan that evicted all Jews from Gaza. Ben-Gvir called the verdict "divine punishment."

While we don't know all divine accountings, said Ben-Gvir, "it is hard to ignore the fact that, like a house of cards, all the criminals of Gush Katif are being punished, and he who planned to uproot Jews and benefit from it (Ehud Olmert and his friends!) will now, as we can see, have to sit in prison, and undertake some deep introspection on the wrongs and crimes he committed."

Two state solution 'only possible solution'

Opposition Leader Yitzhak Herzog (Labor) similarly eulogized Pundak, saying "to a large degree, thanks to (Pundak) the two state solution gained currency and became the only possible solution."

Herzog last December stated his support for dividing Jerusalem and creating a PA capital there, as well as making large Israeli withdrawals from Judea and Samaria.

Despite Herzog's assertions that the two state solution is the "only possible solution," there have indeed been several other options suggested. Prof. Aryeh Eldad, former MK and director of Professors for a Strong Israel (PFSI), has raised the idea of turning Jordan into "Palestine," given the instability of that country and the majority of "Palestinian" citizens of Jordan.

Another option that has been raised is the "one state solution," by which Israel would annex Judea and Samaria despite the local Arab population, either granting them citizenship or non-citizen residency.