Former Israeli PM Shimon Peres revered as messenger of hope


Quotes from around the world after the death of former Israeli President Shimon Peres, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate and elder statesman of Israeli politics, at age 93.

Peres, who was 93, held almost every major office in the country, serving twice as prime minister and also as president, a mostly ceremonial role, from 2007 to 2014.

A host of world leaders are expected to attend the funeral in Jerusalem.

Former President Bill Clinton, who together with Peres had championed the 1993 Israeli-Palestinian Oslo Peace Accords, said in a joint statement with his wife that "Israel has lost a leader who championed its security, prosperity, and limitless possibilities from its birth to his last day on earth".

But the Palestinian news agency, in describing Mr. Peres as an architect of Israel's settlement movement, also said he was responsible for the deaths of many Palestinians and committed "many crimes".

The son-in-law of late Israeli President Shimon Peres says his family had an emotional conversation with President Barack Obama.

In every role he undertook - from forging Israel's defence strategy in the 1950s to running his eponymous peace foundation - Mr Peres was known for his energy and enthusiasm.

Tributes flowed in as soon as Peres's death was announced by his family, who praised his tireless work ethic and what they called his devotion to peace.

"He had no interest other than serving the people of Israel", said his son Chemi, his eyes moist as he read a letter on behalf of the family at the hospital in a suburb of Tel Aviv where Peres died.

"We all believed that so much more still awaited him, and that Israel and the world would continue to benefit from his contributions", Walden said.

"Canada has proven once again that morals come before pragmatism, Canada has demonstrated that policy must reflect principles and values", Peres, who was Israel's president, said in a statement at the time.

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The funeral for Shimon Peres is set for Friday in Jerusalem.

Peres often met with sporting greats visiting the country during his time as president and also after he left office, with the Peres Center for Peace being involved in numerous initiatives involving the biggest names in sport and using sports as a way to bridge differences and create peace.

As one of Israel's founding fathers, Peres was associated with the "naqba", or catastrophe, that befell the Palestinians in the war surrounding Israel's creation, when hundreds of thousands fled or were forced from their homes.

Obama was a good friend of Peres and awarded the Israeli leader the presidential medal of freedom in 2012. "His life ended abruptly, while he was still working on his great passion - strengthening the state and striving for peace".

In a career spanning seven decades, he held almost every major office, serving twice as prime minister and as president from 2007 to 2014.

He adhered to that position even as his dream of a lasting peace in a new Middle East proved to be elusive.

Peres succeeded him as prime minister.

Peres served in a dozen cabinets and was twice prime minister, though he never won a general election, struggling to connect with ordinary voters.

"Israel has never existed without Shimon Peres".

But Oslo failed. Shimon Peres never abandoned his faith in a two-state solution, an independent Palestine alongside Israel. Peres' last major US speech, at the end of his presidency two years ago, was at the Park Avenue Synagogue in Manhattan.