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by   Walter Mazzitti     30. 9. 2016



The demise of Shimon Peres is a loss for all humanity. We lost a great man. A figure of great merits. Defining him only as a man of peace is even an understatement. Nobel Peace Prize with Yitzhak Rabin and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, for the Oslo accords of 1993, Shimon Peres, as a true visionary, with courage and determination, has influenced every page of contemporary history, from the war of independence in 1947 with Lebanon war, until the presidency of the state of Israel. Opposed at home and revered abroad, he used his talents to share a future of reconciliation, not conflict. As great intellectual and strategist, he was the only real supporter of the solution "two peoples-two-states", the only thing, in his opinion, capable of bringing an end to the violence and the hatred between Israelis and Palestinians.


My first meeting with Shimon Peres took place in 1999 in Turin at the Conference of Ministers of the Euromed area on water management in the Mediterranean, coordinated by me on behalf of the Italian Government. For the first time around the same table Shimon Peres, representing the State of Israel faced the Minister of Foreign Affairs from the Syrian Arab Republic. The first sentence of Peres opening speech "Water has no border", i went around the world in a few hours. As Foreign Minister Peres wanted to send a strong message to the international diplomacy that water would be in the future the real key to a lasting peace between the conflictingparties. This was also the reason why just a year later the European Union established a Task Force on the water for the Peace Process. During eight years in the Middle East I have had several occasions to meet with Peres and attend in Jaffa the "Peres Center for Peace", an authentic forge entrusted to a handful of men of genius and great cultural importance with the task of producing ideas and projects to promote “détente” in the region. Peres was aware that the time would not have been possible. It was necessary to work patiently to encourage cultural growth of new generations of both sides. In fact, many of the projects proposed by his Foundation, were allocated to young Israelis and young Palestinians, for a politicy without hate more than peace.

Peres was aware that he would not live to see realized the dream of his life: The project that will carry sea water from the Red Sea to the Dead Sea with a 200 km canal and once desalinated water will be transferred to be used for drinking water in Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Territories. Peres was convinced that this massive project will promote peace between Israel and the Arab world. Italy is one of three major sponsors who financed the design of this project and Peres has repeatedly expressed to me his gratitude. Will the project be carried out? Maybe yes. We'll see. What is important is that Shimon Peres has left us a great legacy of thought: "Water has no border" and the equitable sharing of the resource between the conflicting parties a day or the other  will do the miracle.

Find attached the original version of the article in italian.