Abbas meets Netanyahu at Shimon Peres’ funeral

Abbas meets Netanyahu at Shimon Peres’ funeral

The Israeli and Palestinian leaders came together, after having barely spoken in seven years

Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas has met with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu during Shimon Peres’ funeral on Friday.

Abbas attended the event in Israel’s national cemetery, Mount Herzl, in Jerusalem.

In a nod to the Palestinian leader, Mr Abbas sat in the front row at the memorial service.

While Mr Peres is viewed in the West as a visionary advocate for peace, his legacy in the Arab world is mixed and reaction has been subdued. Mr Abbas, however, was one of the lone Arab voices to express his sadness over Mr Peres’ death, and his aides said he wanted to recognise the former Israeli leader’s years of efforts to promote peace.

Mr Abbas and Mr Netanyahu, who have barely spoken to one another during the past seven years, shook hands and briefly chatted at the ceremony.

In a seven-decade political career, Mr Peres was credited with leading the country through some of its most defining moments: creating what is believed to be a nuclear arsenal in the 1950s, disentangling its troops from Lebanon and rescuing its economy from triple-digit inflation in the 1980s, and guiding a sceptical nation into peace talks with the Palestinians in the 1990s.

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