Shimon Peres was a ‘war criminal’, say Irish Palestinian groups

Death of Israeli politician at the age of 93 has been followed by tributes internationally

Former Israeli foreign minister Shimon Peres, right, and the late  Yasser Arafat shake hands at a meeting in 2001.  Photograph: AP Photo/Ahmed Jadallah

Former Israeli foreign minister Shimon Peres, right, and the late Yasser Arafat shake hands at a meeting in 2001. Photograph: AP Photo/Ahmed Jadallah

 

Shimon Peres, the Israeli politician and Nobel peace prize winner who died Wednesday morning, has been labelled as a “war criminal” by pro-Palestinian groups in Ireland.

Peres’ death at the age of 93 was followed by an outpouring of tributes from international leaders, including President Michael D. Higgins and Taoiseach Enda Kenny.

Despite Peres’s role in the negotiations that led to the 1993 Oslo Accords, for which he won the Nobel Peace Prize, the lobby group Sadaka The Ireland Palestine Alliance said his “actions during his lifetime afford him the title of ‘war criminal’”.

A statement from the group also questioned his membership of the Haganah, a paramilitary group later incorporated into the Israel Defense Forces, and his role as Israel’s prime minister in ordering “Operation Grapes of Wrath” in 1996, a 16-day bombing campaign against Lebanon which left over 150 civilians dead, including 106 in the shelling of a UN compound.

“Peres may well be at peace, but he left little of that in his wake, not least for the people of Palestine who live under Israeli military occupation, and the 5.6 million Palestinian refugees who are denied the right to return home by Israel,” said Marie Crawley, chairwoman of Sadaka.

The Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign issued a similar statement “amid the inevitable deluge of whitewashed eulogies”.

“In the end, Peres remained an unpunished war criminal and an unrepentant apologist for Israel’s apartheid, occupation, colonisation, racism and war crimes who viewed Palestinians as a ‘demographic threat’,” it said.

“During the final decade of his life, while being hailed as a peacenik, Peres could always be relied upon to support almost every Israeli atrocity against the people of Palestine.”