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Thursday, September 29, 2016

FORMER ISRAEL PRESIDENT SHIMON PERES DIES AGED 93


Former Israeli president Shimon Peres has died at the age
of 93, two weeks after suffering a stroke.
Doctors had said Mr Peres had made some progress but
his condition deteriorated rapidly on Tuesday.
Born in Poland in 1923, Mr Peres emigrated to what was
then British mandatory Palestine when he was 11.
He began his career as director general of the defence
ministry in the 1950s, where he oversaw the development
of Israel's nuclear programme.
Mr Peres held nearly every major office in Israel during a
five-decade political career - serving twice as prime
minister (1984-1986 and 1995-1996) and also as president
between 2007 and 2014.
He won the 1994 Nobel Peace Prize jointly with prime
minister Yitzhak Rabin and Palestinian leader Yasser
Arafat for his role in negotiating the Oslo Accords, which
envisioned an independent Palestinian state.
The 1993 accords were hailed as historic, leading to the
creation of the Palestinian Authority. It was hoped they
would lead to peace within five years.

Mr Peres had been foreign minister at the time of the deal,
which was sealed with the symbolic handshake between
Mr Rabin and Mr Arafat, watched by then US president Bill
Clinton, in Washington.
But Mr Rabin was assassinated in 1995 and fighting since
then has meant that, more than two decades after the
deal, peace is elusive and some are ready to leave the
two-state solution behind.
But, even as a new round of talks in 2013 collapsed, Mr
Peres was still optimistic, promoting "a Jewish state by
the name of Israel and an Arab state by the name of
Palestine not fighting each other but living together in
friendship and cooperation".

He said: "There is no alternative to peace. There is no
sense to go to war.
"Terror doesn't have a message, terror cannot break bread
and cannot offer fresh air to breathe - it is costly, it is
useless, it doesn't produce anything."
He had once rejected any compromise with hostile Arab
states but said he changed his stance after 1977, when
Egyptian president Anwar Sadat visited Jerusalem, leading
to the first Arab-Israeli peace treaty.
In an interview with Time published in February, he said: "I
didn't change. I think the situation has changed.
It's time to show restraint & understanding. Let us
as human beings be true to our morality, to our
hope to live together in peace
3:59 PM - 3 Jul 2014
69 43
Shimon Peres
@PresidentPeres
"As long as there was a danger to the existence of Israel, I
was what you would call a hawk ...The minute I felt the
Arabs are open to negotiation, I said that's what we prefer
too."
He spent a lot of time promoting peace between Israel, the
Palestinians and the Arab world through his Peres Center
for Peace and never gave up on the two-state solution.
In the Time interview, he described it as "the only thing
which is possible in order to bring an end to terror,
violence and hatred".
His wife Sonya died in 2011. He leaves behind their three
children and numerous grandchildren.
US President Barack Obama described Mr Peres as "a
soldier for Israel, for the Jewish people, for justice, for
peace and for the belief that we can be true to our best
selves - to the very end of our time on Earth, and in the
legacy that we leave to others".
He added: "A light has gone out but the hope he gave us
will burn forever."
Mr Obama, Prince Charles and the Clintons are among
those who will attend the funeral.
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