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Thu. Sep 29, 2016 News from Israel

  • Thousands of Israelis came to pay their last respect to Former President and Prime Minister Shimon Peres
  • Former US President Bill Clinton landed in Israel ahead of Peres' funeral
  • PA President Mahmoud Abbas will attend the funeral as Israeli Arab MKs refuse

Israel's 9th President Shimon Peres’ casket was placed Thursday morning outside the Knesset building after it was brought from Central Israel to Jerusalem via a motorcade on Highway 1., Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein placed wreaths on the casket.

Thousands of Israelis made their way to the Knesset building in order to pay their final respects. Many citizens, some of whom personally knew Peres, visited the casket of one of the country’s greatest leaders. Former U.S. President Bill Clinton was among the first world leaders to land in Israel ahead of Peres’ funeral. After landing at Ben Gurion Airport, Clinton made his way to Jerusalem in order to pay his respects to Peres, who was a dear friend of the former US president. The Israeli security forces are prepared for the arrival of the many world leaders who plan to attend Shimon Peres’ funeral. 7,000 police officers will secure his funeral. Highway 1 will be closed Friday morning and afternoon in both directions in order to accommodate U.S. President Barack Obama’s motorcade. In addition, east-bound traffic on Israel’s main highway that connects Jerusalem and Tel Aviv will be closed periodically in order to accommodate the motorcades of other world leaders. All roads in Jerusalem leading to Mount Hertzel will be closed early Friday morning. Ben Gurion airport, Israel’s main air terminal, is expected to handle 30 commercial flights and over 50 private planes transporting the foreign dignitaries arriving for the funeral — throughout Thursday and into Friday.

Israel granted permission for Palestinian authority President Mahmoud Abbas to attend Peres' funeral after he submitted a request on Thursday to Israeli authorities. He will be accompanied by a few Palestinian senior officials. On Thursday morning, it was reported that Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shukri will attend the funeral and that President Abdul Fatah al-Sisi sent a condolence letter to Israeli officials. Hours later, Jordanian King Abdullah II sent his condolences to President Rueven Rivlin through a letter. Meanwhile Israeli Arab members of Knesset decided not to eulogize Peres or attend his funeral. In addition, Joint Arab List head MK Ayman Odeh dismissed the criticism that was hurled towards the members of his political party due to their silence. “This is something complex, not easy,” said Odeh “There’s a completely different political perception. Complex messages can be brought up later.” “I’m not part of the celebration of Peres’ life,” clarified Odeh. “However, out of respect, I chose to keep quiet during this period."

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