[Transcript of the Eidelberg Report, Israel National Radio, October 30, 2006.]
Seven years ago, Prof. Wolf Perlman and I co-authored an article on Shimon Peres which we sent to the members of the Knesset before they voted a second time—the first vote ended in a draw—on who was to be Israel’s President: Peres or Moshe Katzav. If memory serves, Peres lost by one vote. We can’t be certain, but that article of ours may have been the decisive factor.
The article started with a quote from former Israeli Prime Minister Moshe Sharett’s memoirs, Personal Diary, published in 1957. Sharrett said this of Peres: “I have stated that I totally and utterly reject Peres and consider his rise to prominence a malignant, immoral disgrace. I will rend my clothes in mourning for the State if I see him become a minister in the Israeli government.”
Well, Mr. Peres is again campaigning for Israel’s presidency, and I shall show once again that his election would constitute, in the words of Moshe Sharett, a “malignant, immoral disgrace.”
Last summer, Israel suffered an incalculable defeat in the Second Lebanese War. According to former Chief of General Staff Lt. Moshe Ya’alon, what precipitated that war was the Government’s policy of “unilateral disengagement” from Gaza. That policy not only led to the ascendancy of Hamas, a proxy of Iran; it also encouraged Hezbollah, another Iranian proxy, to attack Israel from the north.
No one who supported withdrawal from Gaza, which involved the expulsion of 8,000 Jews from their homes, should be elected President of Israel—certainly not the most persistent advocate of that defeatist policy, Shimon Peres. But there are even more compelling reasons why Peres should not be elected President of Israel.
Peres has a record of political perfidy which antedates his desertion of the Labor Party in 2005 to join Kadima where he expected to be Ariel Sharon’s key negotiator for a Palestinian state. Recall the First Lebanese War of 1982, known as “Operation Peace for Galilee”.
Israel’s failure in that war not only resulted in the tragic loss of Jewish life but also in Hezbollah’s subsequent entry into southern Lebanon. I contend that Israel’s failure in the Lebanese War of 1982 was a basic cause of the Lebanese War of 2006, and that Peres was largely responsible for that failure.
The first Lebanese war broke out on 6 June. Menachem Begin was then Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon was his Defense Minister, and Peres was the leader of the opposition Labor Party.
Now it so happens that a visiting American congressman, Mark Salinger, expressed astonishment by the enormous difference between the truth he himself had witnessed at the front in Lebanon and how the media were covering the war. Of course Israel’s media was dominated by the Left, hence Labor.
Aryeh Naor, a former Likud cabinet secretary, maintains that Operation Peace for Galilee was subverted by the scathing criticism of the Government by opposition politicians, journalists, and Peace Now demonstrations. This is confirmed by Tsali Reshef, a Labor Party candidate in the 1999 elections.
“In his 1996 book Peace Now, Reshef admits that Peace Now’s propaganda campaign went into full swing on 16 June, ten days after the start of the war. This was followed three weeks later by a “100,000” demonstration culminating with an anti-Government rally led by Shimon Peres.
To undermine the Government, the Peres camp accused Defense Minister Sharon of having failed to inform Prime Minister Begin of the true aims of the war. Yet, in April 1983, Yossi Sarid (then a Labor MK) revealed that “the Labor Party leadership knew from the start that the Peace for Galilee Operation would [go beyond the 45 kilometer line and] reach Beirut.” (Ma’ariv, 26 April 1983.)
This revelation prompted Likud demands that Peres apologize to Begin for disseminating the “falsehood” that Labor was not informed from the outset that the operation would go beyond the 45 kilometer line and reach Beirut.
No less than Yitzhak Rabin is reported to have said that “Two months before the war, Begin and Sharon revealed the ‘Big Plan’ to the Labor leadership …” (Ma’ariv, 7 April 1984.) This was confirmed by Communist MK Meir Wilner in a speech to the Young Communist League. Although he should not have been privy to such highly classified information, Wilner boasted that he knew, on 10 April 1982, that the “war plan of Begin and Sharon is to conquer Lebanon including Beirut and transfer power to the … Phalange.” (Ha’aretz, 11 April, 1982.)
So who leaked Israel’s war plan to Wilner?
On Saturday night, 5 June, Shimon Peres convened a meeting of his inner circle of colleagues, among whom was Yossi Sarid. In an article published five years after the war (Ha’aretz, 21 August 1987), Sarid said Peres reported that “the war in Lebanon would commence the following morning with the operational intention of reaching Beirut to join up with the Christian forces.”
Sarid’s article goes on to say that Peres, upon returning from a visit to the front on 15 June, told his party’s inner circle: “Comrades, we have to admit they [Begin and Sharon] have got a trump card going for them. The Americans are supporting and collaborating…. Many of our chilling forecasts have proved to be hollow.… The war is near to attaining all of its principal goals. In a few days—it is impossible to deny the facts—a peace treaty between Lebanon and Israel will be signed. This will be their [the Likud’s] second treaty [the first being with Egypt]. They will also succeed in expelling Arafat and all his terrorists and disperse them to the winds. In short, they will break up the PLO”! (Because these Likud accomplishments boded ill for the Labor’s political future, the next morning Labor commenced its anti-war campaign.)
Sarid concluded his article (unwittingly incriminating himself) by saying that “On one substantial issue I agree with Ariel Sharon: the Labor Party must be investigated regarding its stance and behavior during the various stages of the war! If the party critically damaged the war effort—as others contend—it must certainly render an account to the nation.”
No such investigation has ever been made, even though the withholding of Peres’ favorable assessment of the Government’s goals and achievements in Lebanon on the tenth day of the war had devastating consequences. It largely explains the media’s denigration of Israel, the shattering of the nation’s morale, and the succumbing of public opinion to the propaganda of Peace Now.
Responsibility for Israel’s fiasco in Lebanon and its perilous consequences to Jews living near Israel’s northern border can be traced to Shimon Peres. Peres was also responsible for the Oslo Agreement, which brought Yasser Arafat into the Land of Israel, where he established a base for terrorists that murdered more than 1,500 Jews. This same Peres remains in office and is once again campaigning to become Israel’s President.
Let me repeat former Prime Minister Moshe Sharett’s warning: “I have stated that I totally and utterly reject Peres and consider his rise to prominence a malignant, immoral disgrace.” Yes, but that Peres could remain in office for five decades despite his malignant deeds and policies is also indicative of a malignant system of government. He must not become Israel’s President, and this system of government must be radically overhauled.