Monday, November 12

Peres aims


Peres aims

for peace in

Middle East

Students happy to hear Israeli foreign minister’s speech

By Gil Hopenstand

Daily Bruin Senior Staff

Addressing a crowd of more than 1,000 supportive UCLA students,
faculty and guests, Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres shared
his vision for a new and prosperous Middle East Thursday.

He visited UCLA during a 12-day U.S. trip designed to emphasize
the prospect for peace in the region and its possibility for
economic investment.

Speaking in a heavily guarded Ackerman Grand Ballroom, Peres
admitted that not everyone supports the peace process.

"Everyone is for peace but not everyone is for paying the price
of peace. There are those who say, ‘So many compromises, why?’ They
don’t understand that in war there is no alternative to victory and
in peace there is no alternative to compromise," he said.

Many in Israel oppose giving land to their neighbors, but Peres
said there are few alternatives.

"The question is whether to keep the Golan Heights as a whole or
to make peace as a whole. If we keep the Golan Heights we lose the
chance for peace," he said.

Peres stressed that the area needs investment, much of which can
come from money currently spent on the "arms race." He said that
only through increased economic advancement can the standard of
living in neighboring Arab nations rise to Israel’s higher
level.

"It is foolish to think that Israel can remain an island of
prosperity in a sea of starvation. Our greatest chance for real
peace and stability is to mobilize all the forces and build a new
standard of living," he said.

Student attendees said that they enjoyed the chance to hear
Peres speak.

"I though he was very objective and brought out a lot of
historical points that were neglected (previously)," said Pascal
Bemyamini, fourth-year economics student. "It’s going to take a
long time before everyone in the region accepts peace."

Much of the audience supported Peres in his continuing attempt
to exchange land for peace with Israel’s neighbors.

"If that’s the only thing that can be done in peace than it must
be done," said Greg Leon, third-year ethnomusicology student.

"There is no way (peace with Syria) will be settled unless
Israel gives up part of the Golan Heights," agreed Richard
Rosecrance, UCLA political science professor.

Others were more hesitant to embrace the current
negotiations.

"I hope he is doing the right thing because the future of Israel
is relying on him at these critical times," said Roy Yaari,
third-year psychobiology student.

Addressing the question of Palestinian occupation, Peres said
that the Jewish people have never ruled over another group of
people.

"And whoever dominated us disappeared from history, so why
should we follow them," he asked.

Peres spoke of other foreign policy issues, including the
difficult political changes in the post-Cold War world.

"We are departing from a world of enemies to a world of
problems. We are totally disorganized, totally disoriented," he
said. "What can we do to combat the problems of starvation,
discrimination, nuclear disarmament, drugs, AIDS, the destruction
of the environment? Can we really kill starvation with guns?"

Peres was also awarded with the UCLA medal, the university’s
highest honor. Chancellor Charles Young, who presented the medal,
said Peres deserved the decoration for his commitment to
international peace.

"Melding great vision with pragmatic leadership, he has imbued
the turbulent political landscape of the Middle East with a new
spirit of optimism and cooperation," Young said.

During his more than 30-year tenure as a member of the Israeli
parliament, Peres held several key positions dealing with the
nation’s defense and security. He has authored several books on
political affairs and the Middle East.

Peres previously spoke at UCLA in September 1987, when he
envisioned peace between Israel and its neighbors.

With reports from Phil Carter.

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