After years without meeting, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas shook hands and exchanged polite greetings at the funeral of former President Shimon Peres today.
President Abbas was heard telling Prime Minister Netanyahu and his wife Sara in English, “Long time, long time”.
After Netanyahu shook hands with senior Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat, the Prime Minister thanked the two Palestinian officials for coming to the funeral, saying: “It’s something that I appreciate very much, on behalf of our people, and on behalf of us”.
In another video, Sara Netanyahu can be overheard telling Abbas she is “so happy” he came to the funeral. She is heard saying: “I am looking forward to having you at our house. Thank you for coming”.
Abbas’s presence at Peres’s funeral has been seen as a significant and welcome gesture, which came despite domestic Palestinian criticism.
The Palestinian President expressed his sadness in a condolence letter to Peres’s family, the contents of which are undisclosed.
A top aide to Abbas also remembered the former President with kind words: “Shimon Peres was a man of peace who worked with the Palestinian leadership to achieve peace agreements. He also participated alongside President Mahmoud Abbas and Pope Francis in supplicating and praying for peace”.