UCF Global Perspectives


Shimon Peres: A Legacy for Us All

John C. Bersia, GP Director

September 28, 2016

The passing of Nobel Laureate Shimon Peres, Israel’s legendary elder statesman, leaves me sad but also optimistic. Why? Quite simply, because of his legacy as a tireless advocate for peace. I remember well an interview I conducted with Peres in 1994, when acts of terror were complicating peace talks. His words ring true to this day: “The peace negotiations process is like a ship, and terror is like an ocean. You do not foresee an easy sailing. The cost of peace is high. But the fact is that history is on our side, and all the terrorists and terrorist actions will sink and disappear without leaving any traces.” I agree, which helps me resist the naysayers who view peace in the Middle East as unattainable. Experience has taught me the opposite, particularly during two historic peacemaking periods: the late 1970s, which produced the Camp David Accords, and the early 1990s, which delivered peace treaties and other progress. Peace is possible – if the parties are willing to come to the negotiating table with open, fair minds, mutual recognition and respect, a spirit of compromise and a commitment to an enduring settlement. Peres understood those requirements better than most.

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