PLO's Ashrawi: Peres talked peace, did nothing

In NY Times op-ed article, Hanan Ashrawi blasts Peres as a failure.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Hanan Ashrawi
Hanan Ashrawi
Issam Rimawi/Flash 90

Top PLO activist, Hanan Ashrawi, claims that Shimon Peres did not advance the peace process, but rather helped to perpetuate the "occupation."

Hanan Ashrawi is a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s legislative branch and executive committee. She represented the PLO at the 1991 Madrid peace conference.

In an article published in the New York Times on Monday, Ashrawi wrote, "While many remember him [Peres - ed.] as a courageous and tireless advocate for peace, Palestinians recall a different man — one who was very good at talking peace but not so good at walking the walk.

"As foreign minister in Mr. Rabin’s government, Mr. Peres followed up on these secret meetings, leading to Israel’s agreeing — for the first time — to negotiate with the P.L.O. Back then, Palestinians were it turned out, there was little correlation between their [Israeli leaders' - ed.] lofty rhetoric and their actual policies."

In her next words, Ashrawi completely Ignores the fact that the PA continued terror attacks after the Oslo Accords were signed. Over 1000 Israelis were killed in what has been termed the Oslo War, which spanned from 2000-2006. Instead, she blames the failure of Oslo on Peres and the Israeli government:

"The promise of the Oslo peace process was never fulfilled, in large part because of the failures of Mr. Peres and the 'peace camp' in Israel...the declaration enabled Israel to act with impunity over destructive unilateral measures like settlement expansion..."

Although Israel has always been willing to negotiate, and it is the PA which sets preconditions for face-to-face talks, Ashrawi insists on ignoring these facts:

"During the negotiations of the accord, discussion of core issues...was postponed in favor of a gradual approach without any guarantees, arbitration process or accountability, giving Israel a free hand to prejudge the outcome.

"Mr. Peres once told me that engaging in peace talks is like being an airplane pilot. The pilot’s mother wants him to fly low and slow, but that’s a recipe for disaster. In order to make peace, you need to fly high and fast, otherwise you will crash and fail. Unfortunately, Mr. Peres did not take his own advice."

And Ashrawi completely ignores the fact that to this day, Palestinian terrorists kill innocent Israeli civilians, including parents, children, and even babies. She also ignores the fact the PA encourages incitement against Jews, and pays large salaries to both terrorists and their families:

"While Palestinians certainly made mistakes, Israel, as the stronger and occupying power, held most of the cards during the Oslo process. This imbalance was worsened by the American mediators, who frequently acted more like 'Israel’s lawyer,' as one of them later wrote, than fair and neutral referees."

Though PM Netanyahu has been more than willing to negotiate directly with the PA, in all three of his terms, Ashrawi insists that the lack of peace is the fault of PM Netanyahu.

"Indeed, it was Mr. Netanyahu’s rise to prime minister in 1996 that torpedoed any lingering hopes for peace. A few years later, he would be caught on video boasting to a group of settlers that he had 'de facto put an end to the Oslo Accords.'

"After the collapse of the Oslo process and the ensuing violence, the dual myths of the 'generous offer' made to Mr. Arafat at Camp David and the claim that there was no Palestinian partner for peace took hold in Israel. This narrative helped fuel a rising tide of right-wing extremism that continues to this day. Mr. Peres himself helped to perpetuate these myths as foreign minister under Mr. Sharon, doing tremendous damage to subsequent efforts to restart negotiations."

Shimon Peres died last Wednesday, and was buried on Friday. World leaders attended his funeral, praising the man who had served as a public figure for over sixty years, but none of Israel's Arab MKs were there. Peres went from a hawk to a dove during his career, but although nationalist Israelis strongly criticized his activities before and after the Oslo Accords were signed, once describing him as a “purveyor of delusions to a [Jewish] people desperately grasping for hope,” many of them recognized his contributions to the state in its early years, while mainstream media had only praise for his policies, no matter how disastrous the results.