Suspects fired shots at Abbas’ home; Israel dismisses reports

Palestinian news agencies reported that shots were fired at Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ house in Ramallah following his participation in Shimon Peres’ funeral. Israeli security officials are denying the statement.
Abbas and Rivlin at Peres' funeral Photo credit: Mark Neiman, GPO/ Channel 2 News

Palestinian news agencies reported that a group of unknown suspects shot at Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ house this morning (Saturday) in Ramallah following his participation in the funeral of former President and Prime Minister of Israel Shimon Peres. However, Israeli security officials are denying the reports: “It never happened.” According to the Israeli officials, it is most likely just a rumor that the Palestinians are trying to spread.

Mahmoud al-Zahar, a senior level Hamas official in the Gaza Strip, attacked Abbas in an interview with an Iranian television station today. “That man who claims that he represents the Palestinians is Jewish according to Islamic law,” he stated. “For the millionth time, he doesn’t represent us. He is the handiwork of Israel and I hope he joins Peres in hell.”

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“Peres was a brave partner for making peace along with [Yasser] Arafat and [Yitzhak] Rabin,” wrote Abbas in a special letter he sent to Peres’ family. Unlike the international media, the Arab world reported Peres’ death in a less respectful manner and even called him "the architect of the Israeli aggression."

Abbas requested to participate in Peres’ funeral, during which he met shortly with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli President Reuven Rivlin. In the encounter with Netanyahu and his wife Sara Netanyahu, the three shook hands and talked. Sara Netanyahu told Abbas that she would be glad to host him at the Prime Minister’s residence.

Later, Abbas met with Rivlin and other senior level officials. US President Barack Obama, who also attended the funeral, hugged Abbas when he saw him.

Criticism was also heard from the Israeli side following the conciliatory meeting between the Israeli and Palestinian leaders. “I couldn’t understand why the Israelis were lining up to shake hands with Abbas, who encourages the murder of Israelis and gives money to the murderers’ families,” Minister of Education Naftali Bennett posted on Facebook.

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