Netanyahu, Abbas shake hands at ex-Israeli PM's funeral

Dozens of world leaders bid farewell to Shimon Peres in Jerusalem, whose detractors have described as ‘war criminal’

Netanyahu, Abbas shake hands at ex-Israeli PM's funeral

World Bulletin / News Desk

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas shook hands on Friday at the funeral of former Israeli Prime Minister President Shimon Peres at Jerusalem’s Mount Herzl Cemetery.

Abbas was accompanied by a delegation of senior Palestinian officials, including Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Secretary-General Saeb Erekat and Palestinian Civil Affairs Minister Hussein al-Sheikh.

Abbas was among dozens of world leaders who attended the funeral of Peres, who passed away early Wednesday at the age of 93, two weeks after suffering a stroke. 

U.S. President Barack Obama spoke at the funeral, describing Peres as a "friend" who showed that "justice and hope" were at the heart of the Zionist project. 

"Shimon Peres understood that the security of Israel comes from making peace, not war," Obama declared. 

The U.S. president went on to compare the late Israeli leader to iconic world figures, such as South Africa’s Nelson Mandela.

"Peres understood that war had torn the region apart, but he never saw his dream of making peace," Obama said. 

Obama also thanked Abbas for attending the funeral, saying his presence served as a "reminder of the unfinished peace process". 

Gaza-based Palestinian resistance movement Hamas, for its part, slammed Abbas’ decision to attend the event. 

"Abbas participation at Peres’ funeral makes a mockery of the bloody sacrifices made by the Palestinian people," Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri told Anadolu Agency on Thursday.

Abu Zuhri went on to describe the late Israeli leader as a "war criminal responsible for killing hundreds of innocent people".

Peres was born in modern-day Belarus but moved to British-mandated Palestine in the 1930s. He later joined the Haganah, an armed Jewish gang that carried out numerous attacks on Palestinian civilians after the withdrawal of British forces from Palestine in 1948.

Peres received the 1994 Nobel Peace Prize -- along with late Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat -- for his role in peace talks that later yielded the Oslo Accords. 

Peres has been accused of committing egregious rights violations, however, including the shelling of the southern Lebanese village of Qana in 1996 -- when he was Israel’s prime minister -- in which 106 Lebanese civilians were killed. 

 
Güncelleme Tarihi: 30 Eylül 2016, 14:36
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