Palestinians Celebrate Peres’ Death, and What That Says About Peace

If even Peres, poster child for taking great risks for peace, is still reviled, then what hope is there?

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While most of the world mourned the passing of Israel’s elder statesman, Shimon Peres, many in the Palestinian-ruled territories were celebrating the death of a man they called “criminal.”

“The Palestinian people are happy at the death of this criminal,” said Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri. “Shimon Peres was one of the last Israeli founders of occupation.”

Diana Buttu, a former spokeswoman for the Palestinian Authority, added, “Peres was an unrepentant war criminal.”

Palestinian “president” Mahmoud Abbas was initially mum after Peres passed away, but eventually issued a lackluster statement calling the Israeli “a partner in making the brave peace.”

What is concerning is that Peres was the poster child for that part of Israeli society that wants to meet all Palestinian demands, even if Peres himself didn’t intend to go quite so far.

Peres often urged Israelis to take risks and make sacrifices for peace, even though the immediate reward was but the mere hope that the Arab side would reciprocate genuinely.

If Shimon Peres is still viewed with such hostility by the Palestinians, if his death is a cause for celebration in Gaza and Ramallah, then what hope is there that man’s efforts for peace in the Middle East will ever truly bear fruit?

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