The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Israeli leader talks Middle East, peace

Former+Israeli+president+Shimon+Peres+speaks+with+former+U.S.+Ambassador+Tom+Schieffer+at+the+TCC+Foundation+luncheon+March+23.+He+believes+in+the+idea+that+young+people+can+impact+the+world+positively.%0APhoto+by+Katelyn+Townsend%2FThe+Collegian
Former Israeli president Shimon Peres speaks with former U.S. Ambassador Tom Schieffer at the TCC Foundation luncheon March 23. He believes in the idea that young people can impact the world positively. Photo by Katelyn Townsend/The Collegian

By Jamil Oakford/editor-in-chief

The strength of America is the fact that it decided to give rather than take, Israel’s former leader told the TCC Foundation luncheon March 23.

The former president of Israel and 1994 Nobel Peace Prize recipient made a visit to the Fort Worth Convention Center to speak with the foundation and its donors.

“Those who never gave but took paid a heavy toll,” he said. “Better to invest in friends than to invest in enemies. Enemies are expensive, and friends pay off in different ways.”

At the event to raise money for foundation scholarships and to celebrate TCC’s 50th anniversary, Peres spoke on several topics dealing with peace in the Middle East and the bond between the United States and his home country.

Former Israeli president Shimon Peres speaks with former U.S. Ambassador Tom Schieffer at the TCC Foundation luncheon March 23. He believes in the idea that young people can impact the world positively. Katelyn Townsend/The Collegian

“You are the best friend we ever had,” Peres said. “The exceptional situation of the United States in history is while you could easily become an empire, you refused.”

When asked about his thoughts on the idea that America is on the decline, Peres gave an optimistic answer.

“Decline is a matter of measurement, not a matter of values,” he said.

He refuted the idea of China stepping into the picture.

“If you told me China will become a great giver, then maybe,” Peres said. “You cannot decline from the right cause.”

The former president who held political office for nearly 60 years up until his resignation in July 2014, gave perspective to the regional conflict between Israel and Palestine.

“The issue in Palestine and Israel is complicated because it’s such a small strip of land,” he said.

The heavily disputed area is small but caused conflict between Israelis and Palestinians for decades. Most recently documented was the conflict this last summer.

Turning his focus on terrorism running rampant, Peres said the responsibility isn’t just on those causing terror.

“The problem, in my eyes, is not the success of the terrorists, but the failure of the free people and democrats,” he said.

Peres put a lot of emphasis on the capability of young people, saying that young people now are different from generations ago.

“The young people are stronger willed. They are better informed, and they are looking for hope,” he said. “They thank their parents for bringing them to life, but they’re saying, ‘Stop telling us about all the great things you did in the past. You didn’t give us such a great world.’”

While Peres has seen many wars and conflicts during his time in the military, having also held military leadership at the young age of 24, and his leadership in government, he’s not a pessimist about the situation in the Middle East.

When moderator and former U.S. Ambassador Tom Schieffer asked Peres about his telling The Los Angeles Times about when he expected to see peace between the two sides, Peres joked about his “emphatic yes.”

“I haven’t changed my mind,” he said.

He holds onto the idea that a two-state solution is the only way to obtain that peace. This would also entail Israel having to give up land it has seized.

“Better to have two states living in peace than to have one state without peace,” Peres said.

SE student Elbert Allen said the luncheon was a great learning opportunity.

“He was very informative on laying down the dynamics between Israelis and Arabs,” he said. “He gave me good insight on the situation.”

NE president of the Student Political Awareness Club Eric Espino had a full experience.

After speaking to protesters who didn’t quite know what Peres stood for, he found this to be a great experience, one that he wasn’t expecting.

“When I first heard about it and saw that tickets were $250, there was no way I could afford that,” he said. “It was good to see him, and I think it’s good that TCC invited someone like him.”

Donate to The Collegian

Your donation will support the student journalists of Tarrant County College. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Collegian