Middle East

Mixed reaction to Peres' legacy in world media

Israeli media screengrabs
Image caption Shimon Peres' life and death has filled the pages of Israel's newspapers

The news of the death of former Israeli President Shimon Peres has provoked both praise and gloating in the world media, with many outlets paying tribute to him as one of Israel's "founding fathers" but others saying he was a controversial figure.

"The history of the State of Israel is the history of Shimon Peres," declares Elli Wohlgelernter in the Jerusalem Post.

Gil Hoffman says in the same paper that Peres played "an active role in nearly every key decision in Israel's history" but notes that the 1993 Oslo peace process was the most "controversial endeavour of his career".

Image copyright Channel 10
Image caption How the news was broken on Israeli Channel 10 TV

"Peres seemed like a fish out of water in rough and tumble Israeli politics but he was also a shark, ready to devour his rivals with nary a thought," Chemi Shalev writes in Ha'aretz.

In the US, the Washington Post says Peres left behind a "complex" legacy, as many Israelis, unhappy with the outcome of the Oslo peace deal, "have turned away from Peres's signal achievement".

The Los Angeles Times notes that Peres was generally more respected abroad. "Peres, who never served in combat, was mocked at home as an 'accomplished loser' who repeatedly hurt his career through scheming, timidity, aloofness and vanity."

Image copyright Suddeutsche Zeitung
Image caption German daily Suddeutsche Zeitung's headline called Mr Peres 'The Gandhi of the Near East'

The German paper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung also makes the point that he was "liked more abroad than by his own countrymen".

And the French paper Le Nouvel Observateur says that he left "a mixed political legacy", describing him as both "a man of war and a man of peace".

Russian TV stations led with the news, with state-controlled Channel One TV paying tribute to him as "one of the most remarkable Israeli politicians", whom it points out "was of Soviet origin".

In Hungary, the left-wing paper Nepszabadsag recalls that when in 2007 Peres hailed the strength of the Israeli economy, saying that Israel was "buying up" Manhattan, Hungary, Poland and Romania, this caused an unfortunate backlash among Hungarian right-wingers.

"It was a considerable exaggeration but in Hungary it was enough to prompt the far right and neo-Nazis to stage demonstrations and for them to keep on regurgitating this charge ever since."

Middle East reaction

The Arab media paints an overwhelmingly negative image of Peres' legacy. Qatari-funded Al-Jazeera TV notes that "he took part in several wars against Arabs".

But the tone on social media is much more vituperative .

The Arabic hashtag "Shimon_Peres_death" garnered over 23k tweets within a few hours, with some Arab social media users declaring him to be "a war criminal".

Former Palestinian Health Minister Basem Naim tweeted: "#ShimonPeres, 93 years, passed away, good news for thousands of families, who were victims of his massacres along his life. #StateTerrorism."

Palestinian activist @WaladShami tweeted: "Do not let the media erase history. Shimon Peres was not a man of peace. Many of my people died at his hands."

Many Iranian media outlets recall what they see as his slaughter of Palestinians.

"Peres has the accolade of committing numerous crimes against the oppressed people of Palestine," Iranian state TV says, forgoing the usual respectable Persian term to report the death of dignitaries.

Fars news agency says: "Shimon Peres is dead; Butcher of Qana dies following two weeks in coma" in a reference to the 1996 shelling of Qana in southern Lebanon that killed over 100.

And international-facing English-language Press TV says that "under Peres, nearly 4,000 Palestinian lives were lost" between 2007 and 2014.

BBC Monitoring reports and analyses news from TV, radio, web and print media around the world. You can follow BBC Monitoring on Twitter and Facebook.

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