Minister Parata to attend Peres funeral in Israel


President Obama and former President Clinton were among a host of global dignitaries who accepted an invitation to the Friday funeral in Jerusalem, officials said Wednesday.

Peres supported the creation of a Palestinian state and held secret negotiations with the PLO in the 1990s that led to the Oslo Accords, and a Nobel Peace Prize.

Canadian leaders of all stripes are paying tribute to Shimon Peres, remembering the Israeli statesman for his tireless dedication to Israel and peace.

As the Guardian reports, Peres died just two weeks after suffering a stroke.

Peres had been sedated and on respirator since he suffered a stroke on September 13 and hospitalised at the Chaim Sheba Medical Centre outside Tel Aviv.

In every office I have worked in for more than two decades, an image of Peres in action has taken pride of place on my wall.

In a statement, Obama described Peres as "the essence of Israel itself" who "changed the course of human history".

"He represented an era that I'm not sure exists anymore", said Meredith Dragon, CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester. He sent a letter of condolence to Mr Peres' family "expressing his sorrow and sadness".

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Former Israeli PM Shimon Peres revered as messenger of hope
The son-in-law of late Israeli President Shimon Peres says his family had an emotional conversation with President Barack Obama. Peres' last major US speech, at the end of his presidency two years ago, was at the Park Avenue Synagogue in Manhattan.

"As a man of vision, his gaze was aimed to the future". Too optimistic, many Israelis felt, as he refused to accept that most Palestinians don't want to live in peace with a Jewish state.

"As a man of peace, he worked until his final days toward reconciling with our neighbours for a better future for our children", he said.

"A light has gone out", Mr Obama said in a statement about Mr Peres, calling him a "friend". Shimon later devoted his life to the pursuit of peace and economic cooperation, an effort he pursued with determination and dignity until the end.

He added: "Tragically, thus far, we have not succeeded".

Ultimately, Peres will likely be remembered as a man who tried to make peace at a hard time.

Considered one among top world leaders, Peres enabled the peace process in Oslo, which consequently earned him the Nobel Peace Prize along with fellow Israeli and prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, and Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat.

Story by the Associated Press with information from the Middle East Monitor. And as defense minister oversaw the 1976 Israeli rescue of hijacked Israelis at Entebbe airport in Uganda.