Mahmoud Abbas arrived at Mount Herzl, shook hands with Netanyahu

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas arrived at Mount Herzl in order to attend Shimon Peres’ funeral. His decision to attend the funeral has prompted criticism among many officials in the Palestinian political system.
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Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas arrived at Mount Herzl this morning (Friday) in order to attend the funeral of former President and Prime Minister of Israel Shimon Peres. The arrival of Abbas and 4 other Palestinian officials was arranged by Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) Major General Yoav (Poli) Mordechai.

Upon arrival, Abbas spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife at the VIP tent where they shook hands. The organizing committee planned to sit Abbas in the back rows but Peres’ family requested that he sit in the front row despite objections from the committee headed by Israeli Culture and Sport Minister Miri Regev. In the end, Abbas was seated in the front row alongside the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs, Federica Mogherini, and Major General Mordechai.

Abbas sitting in the front row Photo credit: Reuters/ Channel 2 News

Earlier this week, JOL reported that Abbas sent his condolences to Peres’ family. “Peres was a brave partner for making peace along with [Yasser] Arafat and [Yitzhak] Rabin,” wrote Abbas in a special letter. A Palestinian news agency reported that in the letter, Abbas said that Peres made many intensive efforts in order to achieve peace since the Oslo Accords and up until his last moments.

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