Shimon Peres, former PM and President of Israel, passes away

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    Shimon Peres, the former Prime Minister and former President of Israel, and recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize (jointly with Yassir Arafat and Yitzhak Rabin), passed away early this morning. He was 93 years old, and had suffered a stroke around two weeks ago.

    The passing of Peres is the passing of an era. He was Prime Minister three times; from April to June 1977, 1984 to 1986 and November 1995 to June 1996. He was also President from 2007 to 2014.

    But he was far more influential in his other positions. He was Minister of Foreign Affairs three times, from 1986 to 1988, 1992 to 1995 and 2001 to 2002. He was also Minister of Defence from 1974 to 1977 and during his premiership in 1995 and 1996. He also held posts of Minister of Finance and Minister of Transportation in the 1970s and 1980s. He was elected to the Knesset in 1959 and was a member until 2007.

    Perhaps his most fundamentally influential post was when he was appointed in 1952, aged only 29, to be the Director-General of the Ministry of Defence and stayed in that position until 1958. One of his major achievements was the deep cultivation of ties between the French and Israeli militaries, and building of close relations between the left-wing governments of France of the 1950s and the Israeli government (for Israel in the 1950s was an extremely left-wing country, the military particularly). As a result of that relationship, Peres was able to open the way to France providing advanced military technology to Israel, the most important examples being France's provision of a nuclear reactor to Israel to allow it to build atomic bombs (and Israel's access to brilliant Jewish physicists permitted Israel to also contribute research data to France's atomic bomb project) and also Israel's acquisition of the advanced Mirage III fighter.

    The Mirage III was the lynchpin of Israel's exceptionally successful operation to take out the air forces of Egypt and Syria to pre-empt a threatened Egyptian/Syrian attack. As a result, Israel destroyed the Egyptian, Syrian and Jordanian armies and captured huge amounts of land. It was around 1967 that the French decided to draw away from Israel, and only then that the United States became's it's primary supplier of military equipment*(see note at bottom).

    Peres was quite centrally involved in early reforms to Israeli intelligence structures that saw the current dispensation (foreign intelligence provided by Mossad, and domestic/security intelligence by Shin Bet, both directly accountable to the Prime Minister, and military intelligence provided by Aman, which is part of the Ministry of Defence).

    He went on, of course and as mentioned above, to hold high ministerial positions and be Prime Minister. During the 1990s he worked closely with Yitzhak Rabin to try to bring about peace and a Palestinian state; unfortunately Yizhak Rabin was felled by a bullet from an extreme Israeli right-winger, and Hamas took the opportunity hit Israel with a wave of suicide bombings that frightened the population and led them to elect Benjamin Netanyahu (for his first time as Prime Minister); thereafter the peace deal was effectively dead.

    It's hard to believe that someone who was so centrally involved in world events in the 1950s was still alive until yesterday. Yitzhak Rabin was a true Zionist and an Israeli hero.

    *Even though Israel co-operated with the British in the Suez Crisis, at that very time the British had a treaty with Jordan that obligated the UK to attack Israel if Israel invaded Jordan, and the Royal Navy had prepositioned ships in the area to launch raids on Israel if that happened. So the oft-advanced grievances of the evil British being in Israel's pocket is ahistorical)
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    (Original post by AlexanderHam)
    Shimon Peres, the former Prime Minister and former President of Israel, and recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize (jointly with Yassir Arafat and Yitzhak Rabin)
    Israel paid bloody price over these awards.
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    (Original post by admonit)
    Israel paid bloody price over these awards.
    Come on, the status quo was completely unsustainable. Israel simply could not, and cannot, keep control of the Palestinian territories forever. Israel benefited from the PLO leaving the circle of terror and beginning to cooperate with Israel on terrorism matters (admittedly the cooperation has been less than complete, at various times, but it is true to say that today the PLO often acts as the surrogate of the Israeli government in the West Bank).
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    (Original post by admonit)
    Israel paid bloody price over these awards.
    Palestinians too.
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    Baruch dayan emet
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    (Original post by AlexanderHam)
    Come on, the status quo was completely unsustainable. Israel simply could not, and cannot, keep control of the Palestinian territories forever. Israel benefited from the PLO leaving the circle of terror and beginning to cooperate with Israel on terrorism matters (admittedly the cooperation has been less than complete, at various times, but it is true to say that today the PLO often acts as the surrogate of the Israeli government in the West Bank).
    He was a good man who wanted peace and was willing to compromise to get it.
    It's a shame that after Rabin was shot, Israel turned sharply to the right with Netanyahu and any sort of peace or compromise seems impossible now.

    The fall of the Israeli Labour Party is very sad indeed. They had some wonderfully talented, non hawkish politicians.
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    (Original post by Bornblue)
    He was a good man who wanted peace and was willing to compromise to get it.
    It's a shame that after Rabin was shot, Israel turned sharply to the right with Netanyahu and any sort of peace or compromise seems impossible now.
    The murder of Rabin was completely disgraceful, and Netanyahu and Sharon were directly involved in inciting his murder. Most of the Israelis I know (who are from old Zionist families from pre-48, Mapai-supporting socialists, the sort of progressives who live in Tel Aviv now, who used to be the Israeli establishment) believe that Israel is suffering very badly from the increasing religiosity and the decline in left-wing values, that its fundamental character is being changed very much for the worse. They fear for their country.

    But I'd also say that Hamas wave of suicide bombings in the aftermath of the Rabin assassination was also a lynchpin in Peres losing the 1996 election. It was an extremely close election, iirc it was something like less than half a percent that decided it and most people went to bed on polling day thinking that Peres would be returned as PM. But the incessant suicide bombings on buses, that really frightened the people and unfortunately they were suckered in by Netanyahu and his Likudite crooks.

    The fall of the Israeli Labour Party is very sad indeed. They had some wonderfully talented, non hawkish politicians.
    Absolutely. And the thing is that, contrary to the accusations of right-wing extremists, it's not like people like Rabin and Peres were kumbaya-singing hippies who would be happy for Israel to be overrun and destroyed. Both when they were PM and Minister of Defence took difficult military decisions, ordered assassinations, and so on. But what they were also cognisant that ultimately Israel could not justify holding on to the Palestinian territories forever. And they tried to do something about it.

    That was a missed opportunity for Israel of profound proportions. You might know the common Israel political saying that "The Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity". Increasingly that phrase could be applied to Israel. The situation now is so much more complex than in the 1990s, if Israel had assisted the birthing of a true Palestinian state, they could have avoided the Hamas takeover of Gaza etc. And I would be the first to say they don't have easy choices now, particularly with reference to Gaza; I don't think Hamas is particularly interested in peace. But it doesn't seem like the Israeli government is even trying.
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    (Original post by Bornblue)
    He was a good man who wanted peace and was willing to compromise to get it.
    It's a shame that after Rabin was shot, Israel turned sharply to the right with Netanyahu and any sort of peace or compromise seems impossible now.

    The fall of the Israeli Labour Party is very sad indeed. They had some wonderfully talented, non hawkish politicians.
    In the previous comment, in the second last paragraph, I accidentally wrote "Rabin and Sharon" not "Rabin and Peres". Now edited, but just thought I'd make this extra comment as you might not see the edit before you reply
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    (Original post by AlexanderHam)
    The murder of Rabin was completely disgraceful, and Netanyahu and Sharon were directly involved in inciting his murder. Most of the Israelis I know (who are from old Zionist families from pre-48, Mapai-supporting socialists, the sort of progressives who live in Tel Aviv now, who used to be the Israeli establishment) believe that Israel is suffering very badly from the increasing religiosity and the decline in left-wing values, that its fundamental character is being changed very much for the worse. They fear for their country.

    But I'd also say that Hamas wave of suicide bombings in the aftermath of the Rabin assassination was also a lynchpin in Peres losing the 1996 election. It was an extremely close election, iirc it was something like less than half a percent that decided it and most people went to bed on polling day thinking that Peres would be returned as PM. But the incessant suicide bombings on buses, that really frightened the people and unfortunately they were suckered in by Netanyahu and his Likudite crooks.



    Absolutely. And the thing is that, contrary to the accusations of right-wing extremists, it's not like people like Rabin and Peres were kumbaya-singing hippies who would be happy for Israel to be overrun and destroyed. Both when they were PM and Minister of Defence took difficult military decisions, ordered assassinations, and so on. But what they were also cognisant that ultimately Israel could not justify holding on to the Palestinian territories forever. And they tried to do something about it.

    That was a missed opportunity for Israel of profound proportions. You might know the common Israel political saying that "The Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity". Increasingly that phrase could be applied to Israel. The situation now is so much more complex than in the 1990s, if Israel had assisted the birthing of a true Palestinian state, they could have avoided the Hamas takeover of Gaza etc. And I would be the first to say they don't have easy choices now, particularly with reference to Gaza; I don't think Hamas is particularly interested in peace. But it doesn't even seem like the Israeli government is trying.
    Agree whole heartedly.

    Even today in Israel, the right views the Israeli left as traitors. That includes people like Rabin and Peres.

    They weren't *traitors and were tough militarily when they needed to be. However unlike Netanyahu they recognised how fundamental it was for Israel to secure some sort of peace deal involving compromise and were hell bent on making it happen.

    People seem to assume that only the right wing are patriotic, but there are few things more patriotic than seeking a real, lasting peace deal that will help achieve long term peace for your country. I miss that international leftism.

    Netanyahu could scarcely have done less to bring about any agreement and the way him and his lot treated and spoke of the likes of Rabin was disgraceful.

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    Peres went to great lengths to broker peace at significant cost to Jewish lives, if Hamas and the rest of their terrorist ilk are unwilling to meet left-wing politicians half-way, it has to be Likud until they learn their lesson. Bibi is just the start.
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    (Original post by Bornblue)
    Agree whole heartedly.

    Even today in Israel, the right views the Israeli left as traitors. That includes people like Rabin and Peres.

    They weren't *traitors and were tough militarily when they needed to be. However unlike Netanyahu they recognised how fundamental it was for Israel to secure some sort of peace deal involving compromise and were hell bent on making it happen.
    Well said, you hit the nail on the head. The right-wing view of the mainstream Israeli left as traitorous is obnoxious in the extreme, because what my Israeli friends tell me is that even today, for the most part the people who are centrally involved in defending the state's interests and fighting its battles (the people in Mossad, Shin Bet, the special forces, etc) are still, very often, from that traditional middle-class Israeli Labour/Mapai background. And the people who have been centrally involved in building the Israeli economy in the modern, technology-oriented powerhouse it is today (in internet start ups, biotech, etc) are, again, often from those traditional centre-left Mapai/Labour educated backgrounds.

    Half of the Israeli right, the ultra orthodox cults, are pretty much on their face traitors to Israel, given they hate the Israeli state, they see it as some kind of devil abomination or Babylonian satanic institution etc (the usual delusional crap), they have refused to serve in the armed forces, they have sucked up lots of welfare while having very low rates of workforce participation (and when they do it is often in businesses that are very low value-added, and mainly serve their own communities) and they have nothing but contempt for their fellow Israelis. You know how there's that sort-of meme about parts of Europe being no-go zones because of criminal Muslims? There are parts of Israel you can't go because if you do, the ultra orthodox cults will attack you in the street, spit on you, beat you up etc. Outsiders are not welcome in their communities, and at the very least if you walk into their area, unemployed young men wearing their stupid clothes will follow you around quite aggressively.

    Now I admit that there are secular rightists or moderate orthodox rightists in Israel; in fairness Likud is not a religious party. Iirc Jewish Home and Likud have proposed to conscript the ultra orthodox, but the Israeli secular right has also seen those extremists values taint and contaminate their own cultural values. And they seem to have accepted (without admitting it) that they are buying into the religious extremist idea of Israel having a divine right (not a practical/pragmatic/legal claim, as the old left Zionists felt).

    People seem to assume that only the right wing are patriotic, but there are few things more patriotic than seeking a real, lasting peace deal that will help achieve long term peace for your country. I miss that international leftism.
    Completely. In fact, I think the late 1940s and early 1950s was a golden age for that kind of patriotic, internationalist, unapologetic leftism. You had strong left governments in France and Israel, you'd had an unapologetic Labour government in the UK which went ahead and nationalised industry according to fundamental socialist tenets (they were not embarrassed by it, it was their credo). You had strong, patriotic Labour governments in Oceania, in New Zealand and Australian, that ran the war effort during World War 2, who took industries into public ownership (and in the latter case unsuccessfully tried to nationalise the entire banking industry).

    The social democrats in Germany were also strongly leftist but also anticommunist. They were of the left, but they were not going to associate with authoritarian leftism, nor were they going to allow the right to make baseless accusations against them on that basis (like Churchill's speech in the '45 election saying that Labour would have to bring in a gestapo to implement socialism... ludicrous given that before the election Churchill had asked Attlee, who had been Deputy PM during the war, to renew their coalition agreement and postpone elections until 1947).

    Sometimes I feel that in the 21st century, we are almost pushed between a rock and a hard place; either third-way centrism (which is no kind of socialism or social democracy, in reality) or the more unpleasant sorts of hard leftism which seems to have much less interest in economic matters (for the 1940s and 1950s leftists, economics was the prime matter of concern) than they do in obscure and obnoxious foreign policy issues and a sort of cultural/identity leftism that is angrier, more likely to alienate

    Netanyahu could scarcely have done less to bring about any agreement and the way him and his lot treated and spoke of the likes of Rabin was disgraceful.
    Totally. Have you seen The Gatekeepers? Amazing footage of Netanyahu holding a rally where they were carrying a mock coffin of Rabin. Words have consequences, if you continue to whip people up and up and up in to a frenzy, where you are telling them the other side is not just your political opponent but that they are the enemy, that what they are doing is treason and that their policy constitutes some kind of terrible irreversible act that must be stopped or the country will collapse... that kind of hysterical rhetoric will lead some people to violence.

    That's why I often feel quite uncomfortable with the rhetoric against conservatives by Momentum associated people. While there are disagreements over who said what, the fact that John McDonnell was at a rally talking about lynching a Tory minister... this is a completely unhealthy mindset to have, it elevates every political disagreement to as if it's almost a life and death struggle. I don't want that level of partisanship in our politics
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    (Original post by Absolute Madman)
    Peres went to great lengths to broker peace at significant cost to Jewish lives
    What are you talking about? Please specifically tell us how the Oslo agreement would cost Israeli lives (for it did cost Israeli lives. Jewish people are not the only Israelis)? As part of the Oslo agreement, the PLO ceased its terrorist campaigns, recognised Israel's right to exist and PLO security started working with Shin Bet and the Army to arrest and imprison terrorists like Hamas and Islamic Jihad. That fell apart during the second intifada, but after the second intifada the PLO did again cease its terrorist campaigns. The Al Aqsa Martyr's Brigade is pretty much moribund and dormant. The PLO/Palestinian authority continues its security cooperation with Israel even though it is getting no progress on peace deals in return

    It was precisely because Hamas felt totally threatened by the peace agreement that during the Israeli election of '96 they carried out a wave of suicide bombings. They knew that if the agreement went forward, they would be put out of business.

    Hamas and the rest of their terrorist ilk are unwilling to meet left-wing politicians half-way
    And at the moment Hamas doesn't seem to be wiling. But the Israeli Labour Party doesn't really have a different policy on Gaza; their policy is to continue the blockade and hit back if rockets start being fired again. But they also have a plan that in the medium and long-term will deal with the conditions that allows Hamas to exist at all. They are at least willing to try to broker a deal with the PLO so that Israel can start to have long-term security and peace.

    What is most irritating is that many right-wingers frame their opposition to a comprehensive peace deal as being some kind of pragmatic objection, that they just don't think the Palestinians can be trusted etc, when in fact it's that they are pro-settlement. Not only do they not want to give up the existing settlements (even though any deal is likely to be highly favourable to Israel and probably around 70% of the settlers will be able to stay by aggregating in the largest settlement areas, which Israel will keep, in exchange for land swaps), not only do they want to keep everything they already have, they want to expand that and they believe Jews have a divine right to colonise that land.

    I am probably among Israel's most emphatic supporters when it has had to fight against Hamas, when it has had to respond to rocketing. But Israel quite simply cannot continue its present policy, and especially not put forward some kind of delusional claim to a "greater Israel" and settlement expansion, and retain the support of moderate Israel supporters like me. And if you don't have the support of people like me, who support Israel strongly in its claim to the Golan and all of Israel proper, who have regularly travelled to Israel and have many Israeli friends, then you probably won't have anyone's support internationally.

    Bornblue
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    (Original post by BasharAssad)
    Great news! He is now burning in hell for his crimes
    It seems extremists tend to hate Peres. Both Islamist extremists and their fellow travellers and sympathisers, and Israeli hard-right extremists. That means he was broadly doing the right thing; both the insane Islamists and delusional hard-right Israelis don't want this conflict to end, for their own reasons. It appears you very much fall into that category.

    By the way, there is no such thing as hell. And by the way, the person in your profile picture is Gaddafi, not Assad. How on earth could you fail to be aware that they are two different people?
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    (Original post by AlexanderHam)
    It seems extremists tend to hate Peres.

    It that comment he proved me right. I am vindicated.
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    (Original post by Absolute Madman)
    It that comment he proved me right. I am vindicated.
    Are you speaking to me or the board? Are you saying the Gaddafi guy's comment proves you right, or my comment proves you right?

    Why do you think the Islamists hate Peres? It's not because he's a secret Islamic/Palestinian sympathiser. You should also acknowledge that Peres' time at the Ministry of Defence, as director of that ministry set Israel up for its advantageous position today.

    His building of ties with the French military permitted Israel to acquire a nuclear plant from the French which was suited to production of plutonium for nuclear weapons, and that relationship led to the French selling Israel the Mirage IIIs which were absolutely vital to Israel's devastating attack on Egypt and Syria, destroying their air forces on the ground and allowing Israel to conquer the Sinai, the West Bank and Gaza, and the Golan.
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    (Original post by AlexanderHam)
    Are you speaking to me or the board? Are you saying the Gaddafi guy's comment proves you right, or my comment proves you right?
    I was speaking with you. Peres was a good man, a man who tried to be a figure of reason much like Rabin, but like Rabin he wasn't dealing with reasonable people as the Gaddafi/Assad loon so proves.

    (Original post by AlexanderHam)
    Why do you think the Islamists hate Peres? It's not because he's a secret Islamic/Palestinian sympathiser. You should also acknowledge that Peres' time at the Ministry of Defence, as director of that ministry set Israel up for its advantageous position today.
    Islamists hate Peres because he is a) Jewish and b) not Sunni.

    (Original post by AlexanderHam)
    His building of ties with the French military permitted Israel to acquire a nuclear plant from the French which was suited to production of plutonium for nuclear weapons, and that relationship led to the French selling Israel the Mirage IIIs which were absolutely vital to Israel's devastating attack on Egypt and Syria, destroying their air forces on the ground and allowing Israel to conquer the Sinai, the West Bank and Gaza, and the Golan.
    If some crackpot Muslim leader built ties with a Western regime, acquired weapons and used them to kill hundreds of thousands of Muslims, say because they were Shia, none of the Muslims on this website would care. If you don't believe me, look at Saudi Arabia and its massacre of Shias in Yemen.
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    (Original post by Absolute Madman)
    I was speaking with you. Peres was a good man, a man who tried to be a figure of reason much like Rabin, but like Rabin he wasn't dealing with reasonable people as the Gaddafi/Assad loon so proves.
    Ahh, I'm so sorry about that. I suppose I can tend to jump the gun sometimes.

    Islamists hate Peres because he is a) Jewish and b) not Sunni.
    :lol: I don't know why I find that funny, but it's true. Failing to be a Muslim means you are already considered to be inferior in their eyes. Being Jewish on top of that is a terrible sin. To then top it off with Peres having been a very talented and committed public servant of Israel is the cherry on top of their hatred cake.

    If some crackpot Muslim leader built ties with a Western regime, acquired weapons and used them to kill hundreds of thousands of Muslims, say because they were Shia, none of the Muslims on this website would care. If you don't believe me, look at Saudi Arabia and its massacre of Shias in Yemen.
    And it works the other way around too, for the hard left and for some sunnis who are politicised in the Stop the War / Galloway manner; Bashar al-Assad can kill as many Muslims as he likes with carpet bombings, chemical weapons attacks and torturing them to death in prisons. Half a million have died because of that evil man. Woe betide anyone who calls him out, or tangentially believes that ISIS needs to be taken on; they are immediately labelled as "Islamophobic".

    Just in respect of the Yemen and the Shi'a there, Saudi Arabia isn't attacking them because they are Shi'a. It long had fair relations with the Yemeni government under Saleh. It was when the Iran-supported Houthi terrorists started taking over parts of the country, at Tehran's instigation and with their weapons, that the Saudis took action. The Houthis were regularly attacking Saudi border posts. Also, the Houthis are undoubtedly execrable, despicable people; their victory mantra which is written on their flag "Death to America, death to Israel, curse on the Jews, victory to Islam" says it all. I can't stand the Saudi regime but in this case, they had cause to intervene to help prop up the democratically-elected Shi'a leader President Hadi. And the Saudis have not even come close to killing hundreds of thousands

    As for killing hundreds of thousands, as a general point of comparison, Israel has killed around 11,000 Palestinians in the last 68 years. It's not exactly the genocidal campaign that Israel's opponents depict
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    (Original post by AlexanderHam)
    Come on, the status quo was completely unsustainable. Israel simply could not, and cannot, keep control of the Palestinian territories forever. Israel benefited from the PLO leaving the circle of terror and beginning to cooperate with Israel on terrorism matters (admittedly the cooperation has been less than complete, at various times, but it is true to say that today the PLO often acts as the surrogate of the Israeli government in the West Bank).
    Israel "benefited from the PLO leaving the circle of terror" only after Defensive Shield operation in 2002, when the military infrastructure of PLO was destroyed and Israel maintained military presence on the West Bank.
    Continue enlightening me please about the situation in my country. :cool:
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    (Original post by admonit)
    Israel "benefited from the PLO leaving the circle of terror" only after Defensive Shield operation in 2002, when the military infrastructure of PLO was destroyed and Israel maintained military presence on the West Bank.
    Israel benefited immediately from the signing of the Oslo Accords up until the second intifada, and then afterwards; as soon as the accords were signed, PLO security got in touch with Shin Bet and the Army and they shared information, planned operations together and generally moved PLO from being an out-and-out terrorist organisation to a governing organisation that in many cases (and still to this day) acts as an Israeli surrogate.

    The men who were intimately involved in this, the heads of Shin Bet like Yaacov Peri, Carmi Gillon and Ami Ayalon have made this very clear. They have also expressed the view that the failure to finalise a bargain with the Palestinians around 1999/2000 directly led to the Second Intifada.

    Continue enlightening me please about the situation in my country. :cool:
    The fact I'm not from Israel doesn't mean I'm not allowed to have an opinion about it. I've read extensively on its history, at least 20 books and probably more. I'd say I'm probably more familiar with Israeli history than the average Israeli (in fact, my Israeli friends have said exactly that)

    In any case, here I'm adhering to an opinion that is held by, as I said, men who were in high positions of responsibility in the Israeli security apparatus and of all people are entitled to have an opinion on this and clearly have the knowledge and experience to speak credibly on it.
 
 
 
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