The Jerusalem Post August, 26 2001

PERES NEEDS TO WISE UP

By Jackie Mason

If somebody robbed your house twice a week, how many years would it take before you began to realize that he couldn't be trusted? We are confronting you with this question, but we are trying to aim it at the only man from whom we want an answer: Shimon Peres!

Psychologists endlessly argue about what motivates those seeking public office. Is it compassion for others or attention for himself? Nobody has given his country more attention than Shimon Peres, and nobody doubts that his struggle for peace always came first, but nobody could doubt that his struggle for stardom always came a very close second. His elegant enunciation, picture perfect posture, perfectly combed hair, and just-polished nails are all such a rich, urgent, and beautiful part of his personality. If Hollywood was casting the part of a president of any country in the world, it would be impossible to compete with him for the job.

No one has fought for, won, and lost more public offices in the State of Israel than Shimon Peres. Could it be that his need to play a leading role on the grand stage of political power is so compelling that he could imagine great possibilities for the outcome of every conference that he could possibly attend? Since there are more pictures taken at a peace conference than any other place, can't it be that it has unbalanced his perspective so much that he could actually fantasize that a legitimate agreement could be reached with Yasser Arafat?

We just watched him on an American television show called Meet the Press. When asked about solving the problem of violence in Israel, he answered with an assortment of suggestions about diplomatic initiatives that should be undertaken. He suggested we have to find ways to achieve an "agreement."

Haven't we agreed enough times with Arafat, only to be answered with more death and destruction of Israeli lives? When we agreed to negotiate, he continued to kill. During negotiations and after the negotiations, they still continued to kill. The excuse was that he had only gotten back 70 percent of the land they wanted from Yitzhak Rabin. After the election of Binyamin Netanyahu, they still continued their reign of terror. Then, Ehud Barak became prime minister. Our bravest and toughest soldier suddenly became Arafat's easiest victim. Barak helplessly fantasized that if we sacrificed everything it would quench Arafat's insatiable demands. This time, Arafat ran from the bargaining table like it was on fire, proving yet again that his greatest fear was not the threat of war, but the threat of peace.

Even Barak, who was ready to sacrifice his popularity and political life to achieve peace, has been shocked into the brutal reality that Arafat is the uncompromising enemy of Israel and his goal has nothing to do with getting the Jews out of Palestine. His real goal is to get the Jews out of Israel.

He is not fighting for his own land; he is fighting for the land of Israel.

If Barak can finally see it, why can't Peres? How many more lives do we have to sacrifice for Peres to see that the word "agreement" has nothing to do with Arafat? If Peres wants to make an agreement, he should make an agreement with Sharon to stop sacrificing more lives for more illusions.

Peres needs to face the fact that Arafat never deserved the Nobel Peace Prize that they won several years ago. Arafat made a mockery out of the prize the same way he made a mockery of the peace process itself. If Arafat never deserved the Peace Prize, the question in Peres's mind must be ""What did I even accomplish to deserve the Nobel Peace Prize?" To validate his own prize, he has to be able to validate Arafat's prize.

Therefore, he has to convince himself that there is a purpose in talking to Arafat as if he was a legitimate peace partner. This protective reasoning has made Peres an impediment to the peace process itself. Instead of trying to immortalize himself through the self-indulgence of another worthless agreement which will only serve as a costly diversion and distraction, he should come to the realization that there is no chance of peace with Arafat.

The only chance of peace is to support Sharon in his efforts to destroy the ability of the Arabs to kill Jews. Peres should give up the illusion that the Nobel Peace Prize is worth anything as long as Arafat is involved in the peace process. Peres's real problem isn't making peace with Arafat; it is finding peace within himself. He won't find peace within himself until he really believes that he deserved the Nobel Peace Prize. The only way he would deserve it is if he could find a way to really earn it, and the best way he could earn it is to get out of the way.

He should give up his illusions concerning Arafat and let Sharon do whatever is necessary to finally win the peace by winning the war against the Arabs. By being his foreign minister who supported the process instead of achieving another worthless agreement with Arafat, he will be able to validate a rightful earning of the Nobel Peace Prize and perhaps even receive it with his rightful partner, Ariel Sharon.

(The writer is an American comedian and newspaper columnist.)

(c) Jerusalem Post



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