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Wednesday, September 27, 2006

If a liberal who is mugged becomes a conservative, what happens to a peacenik who becomes Defense Minister?

Last night, Defense Minister Amir Comrade Peretz met with an audience, which represented about half of the 100 organizations that compose the 'Palestinian-Israeli Peace NGO Forum.' Peretz, who was one of the 'peace camp's' early leaders disappointed them greatly. He told them what they did not want to hear: that there is no 'Palestinian' partner for peace, but only one for piece by piece.
Peretz told the activists that, "I feel like I am a man of peace no less than anyone else here." He added that he believes it is important to wake up every morning and search anew for a peace partner, even if at present it is hard to find one.

He spoke of his frustration upon taking office that all factions within the Palestinian Authority refused to take responsibility for the increase in the number of rockets that barraged his home city of Sderot last spring and summer.

He noted that additional rockets had fallen on Tuesday morning and injured a female soldier.

"I asked who was responsible," recalled Peretz in reference to his first weeks in office when he advocated restraint.

Each Palestinian group he turned to - Fatah, Hamas, the Islamic Jihad - all stated that it was not their responsibility.

He learned the hard way, he told the audience, that one failure in the pursuit of peace is that "we have differentiated between authority and responsibility. Even a government you do not recognize is responsible for what happens in its territory. This is true not just in the South but in the North." In Lebanon, the government reigned in the cafes but left Hizbullah to rule over the rockets, said Peretz.

One of the central issues that has thrown the peace process into a quandary is that the attacks this summer were executed along two internationally recognized borders, said Peretz.

"It's a central question because it puts our path in question," he said.


He also defended the army's decision to close the passages between Gaza and Israel.

One activist, Sari Bashi, complained that in the past year, the Karni passage was closed for 160 days and the Rafah passage was closed for 127 days, so that for a third of the year, Gaza was closed off from the world.

Peretz responded by stating: "I personally check daily the reasons why the Karni crossing is closed." Given the impact that closing the Gaza crossing has on the Palestinians living in Gaza, he questioned why Palestinian terrorists would engage in acts that force the IDF to shut the passages for security reasons.

"Then I answer my own question - the terror organizations are interested in creating a humanitarian crisis. This is not in their interest and it is not in the interest of Israel's security," he said.
The day Peretz throws in the towel altogether will be a flying pigs moment.


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