PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY President Mahmoud Abbas attends Shimon Peres’s funeral at Mount Herzl on September 30.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas stated on Tuesday evening that he attended former President Shimon Peres’s funeral of his own volition.
“When the late president Shimon Peres passed away, no one invited me,” Abbas told a group of Israeli Jews of Iraqi descent at a special meeting in the Mukata, the PA presidency’s headquarters in Ramallah.
“I decided to go to offer my condolences.”
Abbas made the statement after Yaakov Karkukly, who speaks Arabic fluently and spent many years in Baghdad, called on the PA president to come to the Knesset and tell the Israeli people his vision for peace.
Professor Tsvia Walden, Shimon Peres’s daughter, confirmed Abbas’s statement to The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday morning. “That is correct,” Walden said.
PM Netanyahu and PA President Abbas meet at Peres funeral (Video by: PMO)
“He made the decision to come on his own and did not wait for our invitation to come. We spoke over the phone and I told him my father would appreciate him coming, but I did not invite him nor did I invite anyone else. People are invited to weddings, not to funerals.”
Walden added that Abbas’s attendance was a courageous step.
“He should be recognized for coming,” Walden stated. “I think he took a risk and made a very courageous decision. We are very appreciative of that.”
Abbas also told the Israeli Jews of Iraqi descent that he will call on the seventh Fatah General Congress, an upcoming meeting of the Fatah leadership, to restore a trilateral anti-incitement committee, which is comprised of Israel, the PA, and the US.
“I will tell Fatah on November 29 that we must renew the anti-incitement committee,” Abbas said.
“Incitement can lead to violence, and we must end it in every place.”
Abbas has previously stated that he would like to revive the anti-incitement committee, but said on Tuesday for the first time that it would be on the agenda of the Fatah Congress.
The Fatah Congress will gather some 1,400 Fatah members to elect the movement’s top two leadership bodies, the Central Committee and Revolutionary Council, and set a strategy for the next five years.
Moreover, Abbas affirmed that he wants to make peace with Israel.
“We don’t want to cry about the past; we are here now and we can coexist,” Abbas said. “We are two peoples, and both sides should have a state.”
Chairman of the Palestinian Committee for Interaction with Israeli Society Muhammad Madani and Zionist Union MK Yossi Yona organized the meeting in Ramallah.
Both Madani and Yona said they hope to hold similar meetings in the future.