At times when major figures with considerable blood on their hands die, it still seems in bad form to denounce them in the midst of eulogies. One recalls the Jewish joke of a funeral of some awful man who had just died. No one wanted to say anything because it's considered wrong to speak ill of the dead. Finally, someone volunteered saying "Mendele was no prince but compared to his son, maybe he wasn't so bad" For Peres, we always have Begin and Sharon or Netanyahu to do the trick. Still, kudos to Haggai Matar for not following what is both a Jewish and nearly universal practice of not immediately speaking ill of the dead.
"With Peres at the defense ministry, Israel took a lead role in the 1956 Sinai Campaign. He exploited his French connections to position Israel as a client state of the European powers, and to embark on a war whose primary goals were to: establish Israeli control over the Sinai Peninsula; seize the Suez Canal from Egyptian sovereign control and hand the reins back to the French and British; and weaken anti-colonial forces in the region. The United States and Russia, then the world’s two new superpowers, ultimately forced Israel into a full withdrawal from the Sinai, but the message Israel sent to its neighbors was clear: we’re with the other guys — the Europeans.
"Peres later served as a junior minister in the governments that followed the 1967 war, and which kicked off the settlement enterprise — an ongoing project of land theft and oppression, which the government knew violated international law from day one. But in those early days, Israel’s settlements in the West Bank, Gaza and Sinai were presented as the continuation of the same settlement movement that established dozens of kibbutzim across Israel in the 1930s, 40s and 50s. . . . "Yet despite all of that, after the Rabin assassination, Peres could have chosen to leverage the nation’s anger and shock in order to seriously advance the peace process. Instead, a month before national elections he decided to embark on a devastating military campaign in Lebanon, “Operation Grapes of Wrath,” which killed 113 Lebanese civilians (along with three Israeli soldiers, and 21 combatants from Hezbollah and the Syrian army). Most of the dead were killed in the “Qana massacre,” when Israel shelled a UN compound where hundreds of civilians had taken cover. (And yes, responsibility for the Qana massacre rests on Peres’s shoulders, too.) Peres never got the security cred he was looking for from that military operation. At the same time, he missed an opportunity to cast himself as the only leader committed to pushing for peace and finishing the process Rabin started. ... See MoreSee Less
Shimon Peres, the last member of Israel’s founding generation, was feted internationally as a visionary man of peace. His legacy is in fact far more complex, and often nefarious The huge, gaping dis...