Shimon Peares, former Israeli president, dies aged 93

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Shimon Peres, who served twice as Israel’s prime minister and once as president, has died at the age of 93.

Mr Peres suffered a stroke two weeks ago. His condition had improved before a sudden deterioration on Tuesday.

His son Chemi led tributes to “one of the founding fathers of the state of Israel” who “worked tirelessly” for it.

Mr Peres was one of the last of a generation of Israeli politicians present at the new nation’s birth in 1948.

He won the Nobel Peace prize in 1994 for his role negotiating peace accords with the Palestinians a year earlier.

He once said the Palestinians were Israel’s “closest neighbours” and might become its “closest friends”.

 

Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, then Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres, and late Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin as they pose with the Nobel Peace Prize, 1994.

Who was Shimon Peres?

  • Born in 1923 in Wisniew, Poland, now Vishnyeva, Belarus
  • First elected to the Knesset (Israeli parliament) in 1959
  • Served in 12 governments, including once as president and twice as prime minister
  • Seen as a hawk in his early years, when he negotiated arms deals for the fledgling nation
  • A member of the government that approved the building of Jewish settlements on occupied Palestinian territory
  • But played a key part in reaching the Oslo peace accords, the first deal between Israel and the Palestinians, which said they would “strive to live in peaceful coexistence”

 

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