Shimon Peres' well-known optimism is persistently losing whatever grace it has left. Even his supporters seem to have realized by now that his famous peace prophecies do not stem from internal springs of vision, but from a chronic failure to predict the future. Our president is optimistic in the blind sense of the word. He fails to see what is happening right under his nose, fails to interpret the enemy's schemes at real time, and fails to learn the lesson from past mistakes.
In a holiday interview on the eve of Independence Day, the president promised us peace "by the 70th anniversary celebrations" – in other words, within five years. We heard a remarkably similar promise 20 years ago, when he returned to Israel from Norway with his Oslo Agreement. Within five years we were supposed to reach a permanent settlement with the Palestinians.
"After 100 years of terror come 100 years of dialogue and neighborly relations," he pledged at the Knesset at the time (August 30, 1993). In the meantime, we have not experienced even a single year of dialogue and neighborly relations, but Peres never tires of promising that with just a bit of effort and a lot of concessions, great love will still erupt here between us and our neighbors.
There will be no peace here within five years, or within 15 years. Why not? Because the maximum the State of Israel is willing to give the Arabs does not satisfy their minimal demands. For decades Mr. Peres has been negotiating with Abbas, giving more than taking, and he has yet to comprehend that Abbas would rather give up on his own state than recognize our own Jewish state.
And maybe, maybe he has comprehended, but he can no longer admit it. It's a matter of age and of political needs. Peace prophecies are Shimon Peres' permanent business card. Peres without peace is like Yair Lapid without "where is the money?" and Naftali Bennett without "my brother" slogan.
In a year from now he'll leave the President's Residence, and like he said in the aforementioned interview, "I want to run forward." That is to say, he wants to re-integrate into politics, and re-market his eternal peace merchandise. Therefore, he must stick to his far-removed-from-reality predictions, and hope that we forget them.
From his advanced age, he already knows that we always forget.