It’s amazing what death can do for a man. Artists find that death adds value to the work everyone thought was garbage when they were alive, and Israeli war criminals find themselves being considered for sainthood.

Shimon Peres, former President and Prime Minister of the State of Israel, has died and the glitterati of the world’s ruling élite don their black kippahs and line up in Jerusalem to lay stones on his grave. The media is singing laments for a fallen hero – a man of peace – while it tries hard to forget the truth that this man was a brutal war criminal. Peres was an architect of the settlement process and the dispossession of Palestine, he forced the Palestinian people out of Jerusalem with the Oslo Accords and paved the way for their captivity in Israel’s Palestinian zone of control. Yet he had a peace centre named after him, and that makes all the difference; it got him the Nobel Peace Prize (a tool used by the powerful to wash their crimes away).

Over the past three decades we have been duped into thinking that Israel’s occupation and the violence that it has caused would end with the fabled two-state solution, whereby Israel and Palestine would live in neighbouring states with defined borders. Yet few people did more to ensure that this would never happen than good old Shimon. Israel has never been an honest broker in this conflict, and each one of its leaders has acted under the guidance of a grand strategy that would lead to the ultimate creation of Greater Israel and the complete annihilation of Palestine and its people. His talk of this two-state solution was, as it always is for Israel, a stalling tactic – designed to keep everyone hoping while Israel carried on with settlement building.

These settlements – the illegal settlement of Israelis in occupied Palestinian land – are intended to strangle the social, political, and economic life of Palestine to death, and that is exactly what they do. Since Peres’ time in office; a time when Israel made all the right signals, the number of Israeli settlements in the West Bank has only ever increased, Palestinian life has been made unbearable, and the prospect of a viable Palestinian state has been made impossible. As this is a matter of Israeli state policy it can only be described as genocide, and it comes on the back of the state’s sixty year policy of ethnic cleansing.


Had this been the actions of an Arab state it would have been invaded, and its government replaced by a Western puppet régime. The problem when it comes to Israel is that Israel is a Western puppet régime – a US strategic asset in the Middle East. This grants immunity to its leaders no matter the blood on their hands, and this is exactly where we find ourselves with this war criminal Shimon Peres. Sure, people will read this and patronise me. They will say that this analysis is “unhelpful.” They always do. Few of them will openly concede, however, that it was Peres who ordered the bombing of a UN compound in Lebanon – an action that was described as a war crime by the international community at the time. Pull the other one.

Shimon Peres’ mixed legacy: War criminal or peace dove?

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