World leaders honour Shimon Peres, Israel’s voice of peace
Friday, 30 September 2016
Leaders and delegations from EU and all around the world will say farewell to Shimon Peres, the ninth president of Israel, at a ceremony today at Mt. Herzl in Jerusalem.
Eulogies will be given by his family, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, US President Barack Obama, former US president Bill Clinton and author Amos Oz, a friend of Peres and himself a voice of moderation and peace.
– Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas is also attending the cerenomy and was seen talking with Prime Minister Netanyahu.
In the eulogies, Shimon Peres was described as an optimist who managed to implement most of his dreams besides his dream of peace between Israel and the Palestinians. He believed that a sustainable peace solution is the only guarantee for security. As Amos Oz said in his eulogy: “Peace is both possible and necessary. Neither we nor the Palestinians are going anywhere from here.”
Shimon Peres (1923 – 2016) was a hawkish politician who became a world-known statesman with a peace vision. From the very beginning of Israel’s establishment in 1948 he contributed enormously to its security and defense industry.
In the 90-ies he was instrumental in bringing about the Oslo Accords. The promising peace process however derailed after the murder of Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin in 1995 and his own loss in the following elections to Netanyahu by only 30 000 votes.
During his long political career he was an often controversial figure in Israel but at his death the whole Israeli nation is feeling the loss of one of the last founding fathers of the state and is paying tribute to his extraordinary achievements.
As Israeli President (2007 – 2014), he dedicated himself wholeheartedly and tirelessly to promoting peace between Israel and its neighbors and became a beloved and respected statesman around the world while Israel itself seemed to lose its way.
Shimon Peres was an intellectual politician who preferred to look forward instead of dwelling on the past and its mistakes. He was well versed in philosophy and literature. Once when he was asked about the Oslo Accords, he said:
“An ancient Greek philosopher was asked about the difference between war and peace. In war, he replied, the old bury the young. In peace, the young bury the old.”
In their condolence letter on behalf of the EU, European Council President Donald Tusk and European Commission President Jean Claude-Juncker wrote to President Rivlin:
“He was a man of tremendous wit, humour, charm, hard work and dedication. Our hearts go out to Shimon Peres’ family, who has lost a father and grandfather. Israel has lost a great statesman and Europe has lost a great friend and partner.”
“Peres never lost his faith in peace. We must keep his legacy alive by continuing his unflagging efforts for peace, cooperation and coexistence in the Middle East and globally.”
Yesterday evening (29 September), Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini at his official residence in Jerusalem. They discussed the situation in the region and the possibilities of advancing the peace process.