1 Jul 2012

Former Israeli PM dies

9:46 am on 1 July 2012

Former Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Shamir has died after a long illness.

Mr Shamir, 96, was prime minister twice from 1983 -1984 and from 1986 - 1992.

Born in Poland in 1915, he emigrated to Palestine in 1935 and joined the Irgun militia.

He later joined the Stern Gang which attacked British forces and Arab communities in the 1940s and once described himself as a great admirer of Irish Republican Army founder Michael Collins.

After the creation of the state of Israel in 1948, he joined the Mossad intelligence service before launching a political career in the 1970s.

He was an uncompromising opponent of Palestinian statehood. Rather than seek accommodation with the Palestinians, Mr Shamir championed new Jewish settlements.

Yitzhak Shamir belonged to the generation of giants that founded the State of Israel and fought for the freedom of the Jewish people in its own land, said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a statement on Saturday.