Cii News | 07 Jumadal Ula 1437/16 February 2016

A former Israeli President is due to visit South Africa at the end of the month, and his Zionist hosts are already in overdrive trying to sugarcoat his image as being that of a man of peace.

Shimon Peres(92) is one of the Zionist state’s most distinguished statesmen. He was the ninth President of Israel from 2007 to 2014. Peres served twice as the Prime Minister of Israel and twice as Interim Prime Minister, and he was a member of 12 cabinets in a political career spanning over 66 years. Peres was elected to the Knesset in November 1959 and, except for a three-month-long hiatus in early 2006, served continuously until 2007, when he became President.

According to his Zionist hosts, Peres will visit South Africa on February 28 for a fleeting visit to boost the fund-raising efforts of the Israel United Appeal(IUA) and United Communal Fund(UCF).

The IUA and UCF supports a number of endeavors meant to “reinforce Israel” including assisting IDF soldiers, promoting immigration to Israel, assisting pro-Israel propaganda efforts and funding local Zionist establishments.

So far, organisers appear to be quite tight lipped over Peres’ visit, with logistical details such as the location of the event as yet not being divulged. Apparently, in the interests of ‘security’ or to thwart potential protests against the visit, attendees are being further obliged to divulge their ID and cell numbers to the organisers.

 

A salient feature of Zionist Hasbara in selling this trip and the statesman’s other global visits, is that Peres is a ‘man of peace’.

The technical basis for this is the Israeli’s winning of the 1994 Nobel Peace Prize together with Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat for the peace talks that he participated in as Israeli Foreign Minister, producing the Oslo Accords.

Human rights activists have however been consistent in pointing out that Peres’ own history contradicts this manufactured peaceful image.

Portrait of a war criminal

In 1947, Peres, coming from Poland, joined the Haganah terror gang, the predecessor to the Israel Defense Forces. As early as 1948, this terror group was involved in killing Palestinian civilians, forcibly evicting them from their homes and making them into stateless refugees. The Haganah was officially outlawed by the authorities of the British Mandate after bombing campaigns that targeted several British run installations including bridges and rail lines.

As the The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) noted in 2007, Peres is on record for being responsible for other war crimes, from building colonies on occupied Arab land to endorsing a policy of extra-judicial killings, which murders Palestinians and other Arabs without the benefit of a trial or, in fact, any proof other than that provided by Israeli Intelligence, the Shin Bet. He also supported the siege on Gaza, the destruction of its airport, and the elaborate system of checkpoints all across the West Bank. He defends the demolition of Palestinian homes, and is also on record for justifying the retention of land gained during war, claiming that Israel has the right to the Golan Heights because it was gained during war.

It was Peres who introduced nuclear weapons to the Middle East as he played a leading role in secretly purchasing Dimona’s nuclear reactor from France in the mid-1960s. Eventually, Israel utilized the enriched uranium produced at that nuclear plant to produce hundreds of nuclear weapons. It is widely believed that Israel possesses 250-300 nuclear bombs and warheads, along with their delivery systems, a badly kept secret that the Zionist State still continue to prevaricate on.

Under Shimon Peres’s presidency, Israel waged one of its most brutal (of many) wars against the Palestinians in Gaza  (Operation Cast Lead, 2009-10) that killed more than 1,500 people, a majority of them innocent children, women and men. As meticulously documented by scores of human rights observers, hospitals, schools and other civilian infrastructure were not spared.

From his years of service to the Zionist project, activists consider as his most infamous ‘feat’, Peres’ role in the Qana massacre in Southern Lebanon in 1996.

Then in his capacity as Prime Minister, Peres ordered the Israeli Air Force to bomb some 800 Lebanese refugees who had sought refuge at a local United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) base at the village of Qana.

As a result, as many as 110 women and small children were massacred.

Writes Palestinian journalist Khaled Amayreh of the incident, “the scenes at the site were too horrific to be described in words. Indifferent artillery shells decapitated young children. Dismembered bodies were all over the area. TV networks around the world advised parents not to allow their children under 18 to watch the shocking scenes of pornographic killings in order to safeguard their mental sanity and emotional health.”

Human Rights Watch, the UN and Amnesty International subsequently disproved the myth that the Israeli army did not deliberately intend to shell the UN base.

The U.N. initiated an on-the-ground investigation that concluded error was unlikely: “The pattern of impacts is inconsistent with a normal overshooting of the declared target (the mortar site) by a few rounds, as suggested by the Israeli forces.”

Israeli officials first claimed that they had no idea what was occurring on the ground in Qana. However, the U.N. investigation revealed that “[t]he presence of one helicopter and an RPV was documented on a video tape, which covers the latter part of the shelling. … The RPV on the tape was of a type with a real-time data link capability.” In other words, both human witnesses and electronic observations indicate that officials knew what was going on in Qana. Furthermore, the investigation found that the decision to fire was not made by low-level military personnel, but was sent from Northern Command in Israel.

U.N. officials testified that they repeatedly called Israeli officials to tell them to halt their attack, but that the shelling continued for an additional 10 minutes after Israel received the plea.

Shimon Peres said at the time, “In my opinion, everything was done according to clear logic and in a responsible way. I am at peace.”

Previous visits

The former Israeli President’s global travels have repeatedly been a source of controversy.

During an official visit to Norway in 2014, Peres was met with widespread political anger and protests over his country’s policies in the Palestinian territories.

In 2010, dozens of pro-Palestinian protesters in South Korea greeted him with cries of “killer”, as he held talks with a counterpart in Seoul.

Last year,the Moroccan Association to support the nation’s causes organized 25 protest vigils throughout the county in protest against a Peres visit.


A Protest against a Peres visit to South Korea

A 2008 lecture by Peres at Oxford University was also met by spirited resistance.

“There was clapping and stamping of feet and placards banged on the railings to make as much noise as possible, along with the constant “Free, free Palestine” which did not stop for a moment of the hour-long lecture,” says an Electronic Intifada report from the time.

Peres’ last visit to South Africa to South Africa in 2002 for the World Summit on Sustainable Development(WSSD) was also embroiled in controversy.

Peres cancelled a scheduled address to the SA Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA) after advice from the South African security services that it would be met by protest.

A day prior, an appearance by Peres was overshadowed by vocal demonstrations outside the venue and at a nearby police station.

Sixteen protesters were arrested under the Gatherings Act for interfering with traffic while illegally protesting against the visit.

Several protesters and journalists were injured and three policemen were wounded during the demonstration outside the University of the Witwatersrand’s (Wits) Educational Campus—formerly the Johannesburg College of Education—and outside the Hillbrow police station.

The activists were protesting against the presence of Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres in South Africa. They afterwards marched on the Hillbrow police station to demand the release of Salim Vally.

Vally, a leading member of the Palestine Solidarity Committee and acting director of Wits’ Education Policy Unit, was arrested after attempting to force his way into the campus’ Linder Auditorium where Peres was to address invited members of the country’s Jewish community.

A statement in his support alleged he was arrested in the entrance to the campus on his way to a meeting inside with academics from Sussex University.

“Vally has been charged with trespassing—for trying to enter his own office. He has been beaten by police, his shirt is torn and he has visible injuries. He is being denied access to medical attention and has not been allowed to use the toilet,” the statement said.

Then Palestinian Solidarity Committee spokesperson Naeem Jeenah said that he opposed Peres speaking in South Africa.

He added that he was opposed to the very notion of the Zionist politician entering South Africa.

“That is not about freedom of expression that’s about the fact that he is a war criminal. We believe that Shimon Peres should be arrested and should be in prison,” Jeenah said.

Though Palestinian solidarity bodies have not yet expressed an official position of Peres’ latest scheduled visit so far, discontent is already brewing.

“Peres name synonymous with #Qana massacre! Yet this war criminal who has presided over many killings is to be feted?”, tweeted Iqbal Jassat, Executive Member of the Media Review Network.