The death of Shimon Peres marks the departure of the last major figure of Israel’s founding generation. Whether he will be remembered as a peacemaker or a warmonger depends on which side of the Middle East conflict he is viewed.
He was hugely instrumental in developing Israel’s nuclear weapons programme but chose the path of peace with Arab neighbours in later years.
Peres — one of the disciples of David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister — spent his political career in the spotlight, but his greatest successes were engineered in the shadows.
He was proof positive that only hawks make peace, helping to broker the Oslo Accords which led to him winning the Nobel Peace Prize in 1994 along with Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.
Politically, he was an eternal outsider, failing on five occasions to become Prime Minister of Israel but, like Ted Kennedy in the US, he matured and before his death became to be regarded by most Israelis as a national treasure.
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