Abbas and Netanyahu shake hands at Shimon Peres funeral – Video

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, two men positioned on opposite sides of a divide that sometimes seems unbridgeable, shook hands before the funeral of Shimon Preres.

The moment, captured on video by the Arab media press spokesman for Mr Netanyahu, appears to have taken place before the two leaders entered the funeral for Israel’s former president and prime minister.

Abbas appeared to say in English, “Long time, long time.”

Netanyahu said to the Palestinian delegation, “It’s something that I appreciate very much on behalf of our people.”

US President Barack Obama, in his tribute to Peres, underlined Abbas’ decision to attend, saying his presence there was “a gesture and a reminder of the unfinished business of peace.”

Abbas and Peres were linked by the 1993 Oslo peace accords, for which Peres was awarded the 1994 Nobel Peace Prize jointly with the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and the late Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. Abbas was a negotiator for the Palestinian side,and signed the accords on behalf of the Palestine Liberation Organization.

Abbas’ office confirmed Thursday that he would be part of a Palestinian delegation at the funeral in Jerusalem.

His attendance came after criticism earlier in the week from Hamas — the Palestinian Islamist movement that controls Gaza — over a letter of condolence he wrote to Peres’ family following the news of his death Wednesday at 93.

In his letter, Abbas expressed his “sorrow,” noting that Peres was a partner in making peace alongside Arafat and Rabin.


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