By D. Bender
In a stunning admission, Israel’s former president Shimon Peres, who ardently supported Israel’s 2005 pullout from Gaza, said this week that he’s now unable to explain or justify supporting the controversial move.
“I was for the unilateral pullout from Gaza,” Peres told the BBC in a video interview. “People said, ‘(but) what if they’ll start shooting at us?’ I said, ‘look – why should they?'”
Since the traumatic pullout, which included police and soldiers forcing over 9,000 Israelis to leave their homes, and convulsed the country, Hamas and other terrorist groups have fired some 9,000 rockets at Israel.
“Now, I have my problem to explain,” Peres told his interviewer, summarizing the position of many opponents of the plan.
“They say, ‘why did you agree to it?'” referring to the government’s so-called “disengagement” program. “And they furthermore say, ‘If we shall do it (leave) in the West Bank, it may happen the same.'”
While later taking a more supportive tack, in 2006, Peres publicly upbraided residents of Sderot, who live about three kilometers from Gaza – as “crybabies,” for complaining about 14 years of incessant Palestinian terrorist rocket attacks on their town.
“I don’t understand what the hysteria is about. Kiryat Shmona was shelled for years,” Peres said, referring to Israel’s northernmost town, on the Lebanon border, Ynet News reported at the time.
“This hysteria over the Qassams must end,” he told journalists at the Knesset, according to the report. “We’re just adding to the hysteria. What happened? Kiryat Shmona was shelled for years. What, there weren’t missiles?”