Monday, October 03, 2016

MEMORIAM - Israel's Shimon Peres

"Remembering Shimon Peres and his hopes for a ‘new' Middle East" PBS NewsHour 9/28/2016


SUMMARY:  Israel's Shimon Peres had a political career that extended for nearly five decades.  A protege of Israel's very first prime minister, he went from top defense jobs to prime minister, taking a conciliatory approach toward Palestinians that lead to the Oslo Accords and a Nobel Peace Prize.  Peres died at 93 years old.  William Brangham gets an assessment from Thomas Friedman of The New York Times.

JUDY WOODRUFF (NewsHour):  One of Israel's founding fathers died last night.  Shimon Peres was present at the country's very beginning, and served in just about every high-level office in the Jewish state.

William Brangham has this remembrance.

We invite Shimon Peres to come up.

MAN:  Shimon Peres to come to the rostrum to receive the gold medal.

WILLIAM BRANGHAM (NewsHour):  It was a moment of great promise, Shimon Peres, then the Israeli Foreign Minister, accepting the Nobel Peace Prize in 1994, along with Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

Peres had helped negotiate the so-called Oslo Accords.  And, accepting the award, he spoke of his hopes for a new Middle East.

SHIMON PERES, Israeli Foreign Minister:  A Middle East without wars, without enemies, without ballistic missiles, without nuclear warheads.

WILLIAM BRANGHAM:  Born in present-day Belarus, Shimon Peres was a boy when his family emigrated to Tel Aviv in 1934.  He joined the Jewish resistance in the 1948 war of independence, and became a protege of David Ben-Gurion, Israel's very first Prime Minister.

He went on to hold numerous top defense jobs, helping build the Jewish state's military and its top-secret nuclear weapons program.  With Ben-Gurion's backing, Peres won a seat in the Israeli Parliament in 1959, launching a political career that extended for over five decades.

As defense minister under prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, he oversaw the dramatic 1976 rescue of Israeli hostages at Entebbe Airport in Uganda.  Peres himself went on to serve as prime minister, first in 1977, and again as part of a unity government in 1984.

He took a conciliatory stance toward the Palestinians, and later, with Rabin back in power, he conducted the Oslo negotiations in secret.  The resulting deal, signed in 1993 in Washington, aimed at establishing mutual recognition between Israel and the Palestinians and setting them on a path toward peace.

SHIMON PERES:  From this green, promising lawn of the White House, let's say together in the language of our Bible, 'peace, peace to him that is far off, and to him that is near.'

"Delegations from 75 countries pay tribute to Shimon Peres" PBS NewsHour 9/30/2016


SUMMARY:  The funeral of Shimon Peres, who passed away Wednesday at 93, brought together delegations from 75 countries -- even those with a bitter history of war.  After shaking hands with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu eulogized his former rival as a "great man."  Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama also spoke of Peres' legacy.  William Brangham reports.

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