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Israel and Palestinian People


Shimon Peres •

Minister of Foreign Affairs, was born in Poland in 1923 and immigrated with his family as a child. 1949, he headed the Defense Ministry's procurement delegation to the United States.

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Mr. Peres was appointed Deputy Director-General of the Ministry of Defense in 1952 and served as its DirectorGeneral between 1953-1959. In 1984, a National Unity Government was formed, and he served first as its Prime Minister (1984-1986), and then as Vice Premier and Minister of Foreign Affairs (1986-1988). During his term as Prime Minister, Israel withdrew from Lebanon and an economic stabilization plan was implemented. In 1978, Mr. Peres was elected Vice-President of the Socialist International. In the National Unity government (1988-1990), Shimon Peres served as Vice Premier and Minister of Finance. From 1990-1992, he led the opposition in the Knesset. Mr. Peres began his second tenure as Israel's Minister of Foreign Affairs on July 13, 1992 with the establishment of the new, Labour-led government.


Binyamin Netanyahu •

Benjamin Netanyahu was born in 1949 in Tel Aviv and grew up in Jerusalem., Mr. Netanyahu enlisted in the IDF and served in an elite commando unit. Discharged from the IDF in 1972, Mr. Netanyahu participated in the Yom Kippur War and reached the rank of captain. Mr. Netanyahu received a B.Sc. degree in architecture and a M.Sc. in business management from MIT. He also studied political science at MIT and Harvard University.

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participated in the first strategic cooperation program between Israel and the US. In 1993 Mr. Netanyahu was elected Likud party chairman and served as head of opposition until his election to Prime Minister of Israel in 1996. During his term as Prime Minister, Mr. Netanyahu implemented policy that combined fighting terror with advancement of the peace process. Its cornerstone was the conclusion of well-measured agreements with the Palestinians that insisted on reciprocity. During his three year term the number of terror attacks drastically decreased. During his term in office, the scope of foreign investment in Israeli high-tech industry reached billions of dollars per year. In 2002 Mr. Netanyahu returned to politics, first as Minister of Foreign Affairs and then, in the course of 2003, as Minister of Finance. An Israeli economy that was shrinking by about 1% each year starting in 2001 grew by 4.2% in 2004.


Mahmoud Abbas • • •

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Abbas was born in Safad in 1935. His family sought refuge in Syria in 1948, when the first Middle East War broke out. he obtained a law degree in the University of Damascus. Abbas has devoted much of his life to the struggle for an independent Palestinian state. He was a cofounder of the Palestine National Liberation Movement (Fatah) and has been a member of the Fatah's Central Committee since 1964. In the 1970s, Abbas joined the PLO Executive Committee. Since 1977, he has begun contacts on behalf of the PLO with Israel's left-wingers. In 1993, Abbas held 14 rounds of negotiations with Israel in the Norwegian capital Oslo, paving the way for the signing of the first peace deal between the Palestinians and Israel. On Sept. 13, 1993, Abbas and the then Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres signed the Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements, or the so-called Oslo Accords, in Washington. In 1996, Abbas was elected secretary general of the PLO Executive Committee. He became the first Palestinian prime minister in March 2003, but resigned six months later over disputes with late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat on security and administration issues.


Ismail Haniyeh •

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Palestinian Ismail Haniya took office as the prime minister on 21 February 2006. After graduating with a degree in Arabic literature, he became more active in the Islamist movement, joining an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood known as Hamas. Hamas advocates government based on Islamic principles, and their military wing has carried out attacks on Israelis since 1987. Haniya was detained for protests in 1987 and 1988, then deported to southern Lebanon in 1992. By 2001 he had become one of the top political leaders of the movement. Although Hamas is considered a radical movement by the Palestinian Authority, Haniya has the reputation of being one of its more moderate members. As prime minister he served with President Mahmoud Abbas of the Fatah party, until violence in Gaza in 2007


Ehud Barak • • • •

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Ehud Barak was born in 1942 in Kibbutz Mishmar Hasharon. He joined the Israel Defense Forces in 195. Major General Barak served as Deputy Commander of the Israeli force in Lebanon. In April 1991, he assumed the post of the 14th Chief of the General Staff and was promoted to the rank of Lt. General, the highest in the Israeli military. Following the May 1994 signing of the Gaza-Jericho agreement with the Palestinians, Lt. General Barak oversaw the IDF's redeployment in the Gaza Strip and Jericho. He played a central role in finalizing the peace treaty with Jordan, signed in 1994, and met with his Syrian counterpart as part of the Syrian-Israeli negotiations. General Barak was awarded the "Distinguished Service Medal" and four other citations for courage and operational excellence. He served as Minister of the Interior from July-November 1995 and as Minister of Foreign Affairs from November 1995 until June 1996. Elected to the Knesset in 1996, he served as a Member of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. In 1996, Barak was elected Chairman of the Labor Party and in 1999 formed the One Israel Party from the Labor, Gesher and Meimad factions. Ehud Barak was elected Prime Minister of Israel on May 17, 1999.


Marwan Barghouti The most popular contender among Palestinians to succeed Yasser Arafat is Marwan Barghouti. Barghouti denounced Israel's occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. Barghouti, a Palestinian politician, was jailed on charges of leading militia movements Fatah's Tanzim and al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade.. Barghouti was imprisoned by Israel in the late 1970s for plotting attacks and was later deported. He returned to the West Bank in 1994, after Israel and the PLO reached an accord, and got elected to the Palestinian Legislative Council. But when peacemaking broke down, he was among the first Palestinians to call for a new uprising. Barghouti has said he considers any Israeli in the West Bank and Gaza a legitimate target for attack. In August 2001, Barghouti said Palestinians must use violence. He has also been critical of the Palestinian effort to make peace with Israeli June 2003 Barghouti orchestrated a provisional Palestinian ceasefire. The possibility of a breakthrough raised hopes for some progress toward peace on the 1,000th day of the intifada, the Palestinian uprising against Israel. Barghouti and the PA could use his imprisonment much the same as South Africa's Nelson Mandela did to symbolize the struggle of his people. On 01 December 2004 Barghouti reversed an earlier decision and entered the race Wednesday for the presidency of the Palestinian Authority, throwing the campaign into turmoil. But on 11 December 2004 Barghouti announced that he was pulling out of the upcoming presidential contest.


Tzipi Livni •

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Tzipi Livni was born in Israel in 1958. She served as an officer in the IDF, and later in the Mossad. A lawyer by profession, Livni received her law degree from Bar-Ilan University, and practiced law in a private firm for ten years before entering public life. Her fields of specialization included commercial law, constitutional law and real estate law. In 1999, Mrs. Livni was first elected to the Knesset, and served as a member of the Constitution, Law and Justice Committee, and the Committee on the Status of Women. She also served as the chairperson of the subcommittee responsible for legislation of the Prevention of Money Laundering Law. In 2001, Mrs. Livni was appointed Minister in the 29th Government and held the Regional Cooperation and Agriculture Portfolios. In the 30th Government, established in 2003, she held the following portfolios: Immigrant Absorption, Housing and Construction, Justice and Foreign Affairs. Prior to her election to the Knesset, Livni served as Director General of the Government Companies Authority from 1996. In this capacity, she was in charge of the privatization of government corporations and monopolies. In May 2006 Tzipi Livni was appointed Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs in the 31st Government of Israel, serving until March 2009. She also served as Minister of Justice from November 2006 until February 2007. With the establishment of the Netanyahu government on March 31, 2009, MK Livni became the head of the opposition. She is married and the mother of two children

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Israel and Palestinian People

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