Peres will not make much of a difference, say Palestinians

DUBAI — As the veteran Israeli leader Shimon Peres was sworn in as Israeli President, promising to help make peace in the Middle East, the Palestinian community in Dubai doubted he could make a difference.

By Mary Nammour

Published: Tue 17 Jul 2007, 8:58 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 3:11 AM

Peres, it may be noted, was one of the leading lights behind the signing of Israel’s first interim peace accord with the Palestinian Liberation Organisation in Oslo in 1993. He has also been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

However, Doha Alwazany, a public relations executive in Dubai, believes no change will come about in the Israeli policy towards Palestinians. “I don’t think Peres will be better than his predecessor Moshe Katsav. Let’s not forget that the worst crises lived by the Palestinian people were under the Labour Party (to which he belonged) rule in the 80s.”

Doha, however, conceded: “Israelis have their own concerns that Peres might issue an amnesty for Palestinian prisoners. They fear he might release them as a goodwill gesture in order to move the peace process forward and try and implement the peace road map.” She pointed out that the fact that Peres, who is nicknamed the “Big Loser” by his compatriots, was elected president, was a tribute to his lifelong political achievements.

For Mahmoud Sahly, a TV producer, all the Israeli leaders are soft-spoken. “No Israeli would ever rise to power if he or she was not already approved by the council of ministers. If the Israeli president ever dares to take any unilateral decisions or actions or does something in favour of the Arabs, he would be mercilessly attacked by the Knesset, ousted and even assassinated,” Sahly predicted.

Sahly added: “Right after taking his oath of office, Peres has promised to achieve peace. Nevertheless, the infamous ‘Grapes of Wrath’ military operation against Lebanon was carried out when he was the prime minister. He may be considered moderate by some. However, I don’t expect any positive change for the Palestinians. After all, Peres is merely assuming an honorary position. He will not have any effective prerogatives.”

Anan, a student and part-time salesman, agreed. “The Palestinian people should not rely on Israeli leaders to give them their rights. They should rather grab their rights by force. Our long-time suffering has taught us that we cannot trust any Israeli politician,” Anan pointed out.

Bilal Abul Rub, an engineer, also dismissed any prospects of a positive turn in the Israeli policy towards Palestinians. “This post is honorary rather than executive. However, if Peres is ever to influence the Israeli decision-making, it will be on the internal scale only.”

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