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Jewish World Review Sept. 5, 2001/ 16 Elul, 5761

Jackie Mason & Raoul Felder

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Consumer Reports

Shimon the shrewd? Time for Peres to wise-up -- 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 posing this question to you, 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 the seeker for public office. Is it compassion for others or is it 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, individually placed hair, just polished nails, and micromanaged matching ties to the precisely measured collar are all such a rich, urgent, and beautiful part of his personality. If they were casting in Hollywood for 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?

Recently, on NBC-TV's "Meet the Press," he was asked about solving the problem of violence in Israel. Peres answered with an assortment of suggestions about diplomatic initiatives that should be undertaken. He suggested we have to find ways to achieve an "agreement". We are still in shock about his use of the word "agreement".

Haven't we agreed enough times with Yasser 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 Prime Minister Rabin.

After the election of Netanyahu, they still continued their reign of terror. Their excuse this time was that Netanyahu was too tough and uncompromising even though he reneged on his own promise not to give up any new land to the Arabs. Again, Yasser Arafat tried the same excuse that he can't control the Arab killing because of their frustration of not being able to get more of their land back. After being lied to the first time and defrauded the second time, Barak became the new Prime Minister.

Our bravest and toughest soldier suddenly became Arafat's easiest victim. Because he was closest to the horrors of death in war, he was more desperate and determined than any other Prime Minister to achieve peace and he, in turn, became a product of his own illusions. Barak helplessly fantasized that if we sacrificed everything it would quench Arafat's insatiable demands even if the Israeli people found the degree of sacrifices outrageous and inconceivable.

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. Nothing outraged Arafat more than the possibility of the return of practically all of the Palestinian land. He proved his hypocrisy with the immediate renewal of an even more violent level of terrorism than ever before. Even Prime Minister 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.

Arafat's 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 see it? 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. He should recognize that Yasser Arafat has made a mockery of the peace process for twenty years and has used every negotiation as just another excuse to continue the killings.

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 achievement 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' mind must be "What did he accomplish to achieve the Nobel Peace Prize?" To validate his own prize, he has to be able to validate Yasser 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 Yasser 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' 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.

Give up your illusions of Yasser 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, Arik Sharon.

JWR contributors Jackie Mason and Raoul Felder need no introduction. Comment on this column by clicking here.



© 2001, Jackie Mason & Raul Felder.