Propaganda leaflet
Photo: Hagit Klaiman
Peres. Unmoved by protest
Photo: AP

UK protestors call Peres 'war criminal'

President's address in front of 1,000 Oxford University students interrupted by small group of demonstrators claiming Israel ethnically cleansed Palestinians, calling for end to Gaza siege. Peres: We don't need your permission to stay alive

LONDON – Pro-Palestinian protestors interrupted President Shimon Peres' speech Tuesday evening at Britain's Oxford University. The angry students called Peres a "war criminal" and called for an end to the Israeli occupation in the Palestinian territories.


Peres was expected to address the two houses of the British parliament on Wednesday.


The Israeli president spoke before some 1,000 British students at Oxford, while dozens of other students protested outside the lecture hall. They carried signs reading, "A person cannot be called 'a man of peace' if he develops nuclear weapons, and chanted "free Palestine" and "occupation is a crime".


A propaganda leaflet, titled "Peres is a war criminal", was handed out outside the hall.


The leaflet read, "In the past 60 years he contributed to and was responsible for Israeli terror and the ongoing occupation. He recruited and armed the Hagana terrorists who led the ethnic cleansing of Palestine in 1948.


"This man is responsible for the only nuclear weapons cache in the entire Middle East. As the president of Israel, he is responsible for starving a million and a half Palestinians subject to a siege in Gaza."


Protestors inside the hall interrupted Peres' speech several times. One of them shouted at him, "I am here on behalf of a million and a half residents of Gaza who are being bombed by Israel every day. I am here in the name of 11,000 Palestinian prisoners. I am here in the name of the 800,000 refugees expelled. War criminal, you should be ashamed of yourself."


'Hitler would also remain silent'

The audience did not keep quiet in light of the ongoing attacks. When one of the demonstrators called Peres a "war criminal", most of those present booed her. She did not hesitate and replied, 'If Hitler were here now, he would remain silent as you are silent and listen to Peres' speech."


The president, who remained composed and kept his restraint, responded to one of the protestors by saying, "We have the right to stay alive. We don't need your permission."


One of the students, who claimed to be demonstrating on behalf of all of Gaza's residents, was told by Peres, "Sometimes it's not so terrible to open your eyes and ears and keep your mouth closed for a different opportunity."


At the end of the event, Peres said he was unmoved by the demonstration and would continue his PR efforts for Israel. Members of the president's entourage were also unmoved by the students who interrupted the speech.


"We are used to seeing a small group of demonstrators at the president's speeches across the world. The president will continue serving the State of Israel loyally," one of Peres' associates said.


פרסום ראשון: 11.19.08, 07:28
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