Israel’s Peres in serious but stable condition after stroke

The 93-year-old former Israeli president Shimon Peres was in a medically induced coma to allow him to rest after experiencing significant bleeding in the brain.
Shimon Peres was taken to hospital on 13 September 2016 after suffering a stroke and is conscious and in stable but serious condition.  EPA/ABIR SULTAN
Shimon Peres was taken to hospital on 13 September 2016 after suffering a stroke and is conscious and in stable but serious condition. EPA/ABIR SULTAN

JERUSALEM // Former Israeli president Shimon Peres was in “serious but stable” condition after suffering a major stroke, doctors treating him said on Wednesday.

Dr Yitzhak Kreiss, director of the Sheba Medical Center near Tel Aviv, said the 93-year-old Nobel Peace Prize laureate was in a medically induced coma to allow him to rest after experiencing significant bleeding in the brain.

Mr Peres was rushed to hospital on Tuesday after feeling ill and after a battery of tests was diagnosed to have suffered a stroke. Dr Kreiss said Mr Peres was being transferred to neurosurgical intensive care unit where he would continue to be evaluated.

Rafi Valden, Mr Peres’ son-in-law and personal physician, gave an optimistic forecast, saying that he was responsive when addressed and even squeezed a hand when asked to.

“We are happy to remark then when the sedation was a little lessened he was reactive,” he said.

Over a seven-decade career, he held most of the senior political offices, including three stints as prime minister and extended terms as foreign, defence and finance minister. He won the 1994 Nobel Peace Prize for his work in reaching an interim peace agreement with the Palestinians.

He was among those instrumental in establishing the state of Israel, alongside its first prime minister David Ben-Gurion.

Born in Poland in 1923, Peres emigrated to what was then British mandatory Palestine when he was 11 and joined the Zionist movement in the 1940s.

He hawkishly rejected any compromise with Arab states, but said he was converted after 1977, when Egyptian president Anwar Sadat made a historic visit to Jerusalem, leading to the first Arab-Israeli peace treaty.

But his embrace of peace efforts extended only so far. He was prime minister in 1996 when more than 100 civilians were killed while sheltering at a UN peacekeepers’ base in the Lebanese village of Qana fired upon by Israel.

The highlight of his career came in 1994, when he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize along with Yitzhak Rabin and the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat for his role in negotiating the Oslo accords with the Palestinians.

The 1993 accords were hailed as historic, leading to the creation of the Palestinian Authority and parameters that were supposed to lead to peace in five years.

Mr Peres was foreign minister at the time and a driving force behind the agreements.

But more than two decades later, Israeli-Palestinian peace remains unlikely and some are ready to bury the idea of a two-state solution.

*Agence France-Presse

Published: September 14, 2016 04:00 AM

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