Shimon Peres, Minister of Regional Cooperation of Israel, left, applauds Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, right, as it is announced that Arafat is about to speak at the Davos World Economic Forum. Both took part in the forum on "From Peacemaking to Peacebuilding." Peres, a former Israeli president and prime minister, whose life story mirrored that of the Jewish state and who was celebrated around the world as a Nobel prize-winning visionary who pushed his country toward peace. (AP Photo/Herbert Knosowski)

In Memoriam: Shimon Peres

By |

Gershon Baskin. during the years of the Oslo Peace Process (1994-1997), was an advisor to Prime Ministers’ Rabin and Peres special team on the Peace Process, where he reported directly to Peres on policies and negotiations with the Palestinians. Here are Gershon’s insights of the legacy of Shimon Peres.

Shimon Peres and Mahmoud Abbas

Shimon Peres and Mahmoud Abbas

Shimon Peres, (2 August 1923 – 28 September 2016) was a Polish-born Israeli statesman. 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 won 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 Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements (Oslo Accords).

During the years of the Oslo Peace Process (1994-1997), I was an advisor to Prime Ministers’ Rabin and Peres special team on the Peace Process, where I assisted a special team of advisors established by the Prime Minister and reporting directly to him on policies and negotiations with the Palestinians.

I had a lot of criticism of Shimon Peres and held him responsible to a large degree for failing to conclude a peace agreement with the Palestinians when he had the power to do so, but no one can deny the enormous things he did for Israel. No one can take away his visionary ability to see beyond the obstacles of the present time. He was inspirational and the outpouring of praise and admiration from around the world is evidence of the uniqueness of his greatness. I am saddened and angry at those in our immediate neighborhood who are celebrating his death – that is a testimony of their lack of humanity.

I want to thank Abu Mazen and the Palestinian people on the very wise decision to participate in the funeral of Shimon Peres. While there is still no peace between Israel and Palestine, peace is based on human relations and respect for the humanity of each other. Participation in the mourning of Peres’s family and of the nation of Israel is a sign of respect and a symbol of humanity.

Over the years in promoting peace in the Middle East, I have shared numerous insights regarding the legacy of Shimon Peres. The following are a few of my observations:

What Went Wrong: Oslo, The PLO (PA), Israel – Some Additional Facts

I appealed to Shimon Peres to issue public declarations that Israel views the “Palestinian Basic Law” favorably… read more

Government Investigation Committee

I asked why didn’t then Prime Minister Shimon Peres advance the Beilin-Abu Mazen agreement that laid down a declaration of principles for final status … read more

A Peacenik’s Dilemma

I claimed that Shimon Peres has been the world’s best talker when it comes to peace… read more
U.S. President Barack Obama presented Israeli President Shimon Peres with the Medal of Freedom

U.S. President Barack Obama presented Israeli President Shimon Peres with the Medal of Freedom

Thank you, Mr. Sherman

Although I agreed with Sherman’s criticism of President Shimon Peres’s speech, that it is wrong not to learn from the failures of the Oslo process, for me it was a great honor to be attacked together with our president and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.… read more

Unlike religious wars, political wars have solutions

I claimed that in previous elections Netanayhu screamed that Shimon Peres would divide Jerusalem – he said there is no security in Jerusalem and Peres is responsible… read more

The Oslo Peace Process – Lessons Learned

I shared my thoughts on how Shimon Peres spoke about a new Middle East that would flourish with the fruits of peace.… read more

The ‘lose-lose’ approach to peace

I wrote about a “lose-lose” arrangement with the Palestinians, not the “win-win” strategy advanced by Shimon Peres… read more

Proposals for Walls and Fences, and their Consequences: An overview of various Israeli proposals for unilateral separation.

I wrote that Shimon Peres would be considered the primary proponent of political separation with wide ranging cooperation, particularly in economic relations and economic development.… read more

Negotiating The Future: Vision And Realpolitik in the Quest for a Jerusalem of Peace

I wrote that Shimon Peres promised that Jerusalem will not be divided and that Israel will have sovereignty over the entirety of the city.… read more

On Apartheid

I remember attending with foreign minister Shimon Peres, the first party at the home of the South African ambassador in Herzliya in 1994 for the inauguration of Nelson Mandela… read more

City of Peace

I thought that the law passed to enable the government to implement various aspects of the Oslo agreement was used cynically to close down Palestinian institutions in Jerusalem, despite promises by Shimon Peres and despite Israeli obligations under the Road Map to reopen Palestinian institutions in east Jerusalem.… read more

The Center for Israeli Progress (CIP): Progressive Ideas for a Sustainable Israel

I observed that Shimon Peres received more support from women in the 1996 elections than for Benjamin Netanyahu… read more

The Jerusalem Problem: The Search for Solutions

I thought that since the beginning of the Oslo process, Shimon Peres claimed that all of East Jerusalem (the area beyond the Green Line) is the capital of the Palestinian state and that all of the territories of East Jerusalem must be under Palestinian sovereignty forever, including the Jewish “neighborhoods” in East Jerusalem.… read more

A speech in Ramallah, a speech in the Knesset

Here is the “transcript” of a speech that I penned that I thought should be presented by Mahmoud Abbas to Mr. President, Shimon Peres… read more

Why Oslo really failed: Let`s not repeat old mistakes

Here are my thoughts on Shimon Peres speeches about a new Middle East that would flourish with the fruits of peace.… read more

Gershon Baskin

Gershon Baskin

Gershon Baskin is one of the most recognizable names in the Middle East Peace process. His dedication to creating a culture of peace and environmental awareness, coupled with his impeccable integrity, has earned him the trust of the leaders of all sides of the century old conflict. Few people have such far-reaching and positive impacts on promoting peace, security, prosperity and bi-national relationships.
Gershon is an advisor to Israeli, Palestinian and International Prime Ministers on the Middle East Peace Process and the founder and director of IPCRI, the Israeli-Palestinian Public Policy Institute. He was the initiator and negotiator of the secret back channel between Israel and Hamas for the release of 1,027 prisoners – mainly Palestinians and Arab-Israelis of which 280 were sentenced to life in prison for planning and perpetrating various attacks against Jewish targets that resulted in the killing of 569 Israelis in exchange for one Israeli soldier, Gilad Schalit. Gershon is actively involved in research and advocacy concerning topics such as social policy, environmental security, political strategy, peace education, economics, culture and in the development of affordable solar projects with the goal of providing clean electricity for 50 million people by 2020.
Gershon Baskin