The Nobel Peace Prize 1994
Yasser Arafat, Shimon Peres, Yitzhak Rabin
Born: 16 August 1923, Vishneva, Poland (now Belarus)
Residence at the time of the award: Israel
Prize motivation: "for their efforts to create peace in the Middle East"
Role: Foreign Minister of Israel
In the winter of 1993, secret negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis took place in the Norwegian capital Oslo. They resulted in the so-called Oslo Accords, signed in Washington the same year. The agreement aimed at reconciling the two peoples, with Israel gradually withdrawing from occupied territories and granting the Palestinians self-determination. Israel's Minister of Foreign Affairs Shimon Peres was in charge of the negotiations on the Israeli side, and in the autumn of 1994 he shared the Peace Prize with his own Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and the Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.
Shimon Peres was born in Belorussia. To escape the persecution of Jews there, the family fled to Palestine in 1934. Peres studied agricultural science and joined the party of the Zionist leader David Ben Gurion. When Arab forces launched their attack on the new state of Israel in 1948, Peres was given the chief responsibility for securing military equipment for Israel from abroad. Later he organized Israel's nuclear program and is regarded as the father of Israel's atom bomb.