Shimon Peres, former Labor Party Chairman, announced on Wednesday the end of his political activities with the Labor party, thus ending 46 years of membership at the Labor, and said that he would support Sharon in the upcoming elections in March 2006.
“Sharon is the suitable person for peace making, and achieving security”, Peres said, “He is the man who will bring peace after becoming the head of the coalition”.
Peres added that he held talks with Sharon and “became convinced that he [Sharon] is determined to continue the peace process, and that he told Sharon that he is open to “creative ideas to achieve peace and security in the area.
Also, Peres added that he believes that the coming period will bring an unavoidable combination of peace and diplomatic advantages for Israel, and he wants to be part of this process by advancing it in order to develop and thrive the Israeli economy and social justice, Israeli online daily Haaretz reported.
“The decision I made was not an easy one, but I made the choice and decided”, Peres stated, “I will leave the Labor party and support Sharon”.
Throughout his history with the labor party, Peres held every major position at the Israeli cabinet, and lost the party chairmanship to Amir Peretz three weeks ago.
Following Highlights in Peres’ Labor Party career, as published by Haaretz;
1959 – Peres enters politics and is elected to fourth Knesset as part of Mapai; serves as deputy defense minister
1965 – Joins David Ben-Gurion in quitting Mapai; appointed secretary general of Rafi – Israeli Workers’ Party
1968 – Merges Rafi and Mapai, and helps establish the Labor Party
1969 – Peres is appointed minister without portfolio in Golda Meir’s cabinet, is later appointed to a number of ministerial positions in her government
1974 – Peres faces Yitzhak Rabin in race for Labor chairmanship and loses; Rabin gets 298 Labor central committee votes, while Peres attains 254 votes
1977 – Rabin appoints Peres as defense minister; the tenure is characterized by heightened tensions between the two
1977 – Rabin’s government falls due to desecration of Sabbath while receiving F-15 fighter jets. Peres faces Rabin in party primaries and loses by 41 votes
1977 – Rabin resigns from Labor chairmanship due to scandal over dollar account. Peres leads Labor party in elections against the Menachim Begin-led Likud and loses. Peres remains Labor chairman in the opposition
1984 – Peres serves as prime minister from 1984-1986 in national unity government, and is replaced in 1986 by the Likud’s Yitzhak Shamir, under whom he serves as foreign minister
1988 – Peres loses to Shamir in elections and joins unity government, in which he serves as deputy prime minister and finance minister
1992 – Peres is appointed as the Foreign Minister in Rabin’s second tenure as Prime Minister, where the two sign the Declaration of Principles with the Palestinians. Peres, Rabin and Yasser Arafat are awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
1995 – Rabin is assassinated following a Tel Aviv peace rally; Peres is appointed party chairman, and serves as prime minister until the 1996 elections
1996 – Benjamin Netanyahu and the Likud defeat Peres
1997 – Ehud Barak is elected Labor chairman and Peres stays on as an MK. Other party members launch an initiative to nominate Peres as a presidential candidate, a move that Barak opposes
1999 – Barak defeats Netanyahu in the race for Prime Minister; Peres is appointed Minister of Regional Cooperation
2000 – Peres loses in presidential race against Likud candidate Moshe Katsav.
2003 – Amram Mitzna loses elections to Ariel Sharon and quits as head of Labor Party. Peres is elected temporary leader, joins national unity government to support disengagement plan and serves as Vice Premier
2005 – Peres vies for Labor chairmanship against Amir Peretz and Benjamin Ben-Eliezer; Peretz defeats Peres by a margin of 42% to 40%.