Israel's leaders lay wreaths beside casket of Shimon Peres

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton stands with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and Knesset speaker Yuli Edelstein next to the flag-draped coffin of former Israeli President Shimon Peres as he lies in state at the Knesset plaza the Is

Israel's leaders lay wreaths beside casket of Shimon Peres

Peres had topped leadership roles over the decades, including becoming Prime Minister and President.

His son, Chemi, confirmed his death Wednesday morning to reporters gathered at the hospital where Shimon Peres had been treated for the past two weeks. Obama described him as the "essence of Israel", noting how he was "guided by a vision of the human dignity and progress that he knew people of goodwill could advance together". "But that doesn't mean he was wrong or that peace isn't worth the effort of trying", she said.

Most other Arab officials remained silent, with the exceptions of Palestinian president Abbas, who said Peres was "brave", and Bahrain's foreign minister.

Obama led world leaders in paying tribute to Peres, calling him a friend who "never gave up on the possibility of peace".

His transformation from political hawk to peace-seeker earned him a 1994 Nobel Peace Prize for the negotiations leading to the Israeli-Palestinian Oslo Peace Accords.

Peres' funeral will be held on Friday, with many world dignitaries arriving in Jerusalem to pay their respects. Though he served as prime minister, he was also rejected by voters in other races.

President Francois Hollande, former French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has received permission to attend the funeral on Friday of former Israeli prime minister Shimon Peres, according to Israeli authorities. But the Egyptian foreign minister was scheduled to attend and King Abdullah of Jordan sent a telegram of condolences.

In the September 28 telegram, sent to current President of Israel, Reuven Rivlin, the pontiff expressed hope that the work which Peres, 93, began during his lifetime will continue.

The Embassy of the State of Israel in Nigeria says the country has been thrown into deep mourning over the death of Shimon Peres, its immediate past president.

The difference in perception about Peres speaks a great deal about the narrative of the Arab world, the wider Middle East, how the region views itself and, indeed, how the world views it. It is expected to be the largest such gathering in Israel since the funeral of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, who was assassinated by a Jewish nationalist in 1995. Peres turned Israel from a militia to a state.

During a 16-day war with the Lebanese Hezbollah militant group that year, Israel shelled a United Nations compound where Lebanese fleeing the conflict had taken refuge.

Bill Clinton and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton said they "lost a true and treasured friend".

They have cited his involvement in successive Arab-Israeli wars, the occupation of Palestinian territory and his support for settlement building before his work on Oslo.

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