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Former Israeli president Shimon Peres (R) shakes hands with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (C) at the World Economic Forum on the Middle East and North Africa at the King Hussein Convention Centre at the Dead Sea May 22, 2015.(Photo by: REUTERS)
Abbas lauds Peres's peace efforts in condolence letter to family
Palestinians express mixed reactions on the passing of Israel's ninth president, who won the Nobel Peace Prize alongside Yasser Arafat and Yitzhak Rabin in 1994.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas sent a condolence letter to the family of Shimon Peres on Wednesday expressing his sadness over the death of the veteran statesman.

Abbas said Peres was a partner in peace with Yasser Arafat and Yitzhak Rabin and lauded him for exerting great effort to make peace since the signing of the Oslo Accords, which he said were unwavering until the last moment of his life. The specific contents of the letter were not disclosed.

Peres, who died in Tel Aviv at age 93 on Wednesday, received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1994 together with Arafat and Rabin for reaching an interim peace deal in 1993.

A top aide to Abbas also remembered the former president with kind words.

“Shimon Peres was a man of peace who worked with the Palestinian leadership to achieve peace agreements.

He also participated alongside President Mahmoud Abbas and Pope Francis in supplicating and praying for peace,” Abbas’s diplomatic adviser Majdi al-Khalidi told The Jerusalem Post, referring to a June 2014 visit to the Vatican at the behest of Pope Francis. “His passing is certainly a great loss for humanity and the region.”

Elias Zananiri, deputy chairman of the Palestinian Interaction Committee with Israeli Society, called it “a sad day for everyone in the peace camp.”

“Although Peres is well known for making Israel a nuclear power, he did his best to achieve peace between Palestinians and Israelis, and I think that should be the main thing remembered,” he said.

Wasel Abu Yousef, a PLO executive committee member, was more critical.

“In spite of the talk that Peres is a man of peace, he was one of the founders of Israel who practiced all forms of aggression to expel the Palestinian people from their land, brought nuclear weapons to the Middle East and perpetrated the Kana Massacre in Lebanon,” he told the Post. “These are things Palestinians remember when they think of Shimon Peres.”

Hamas spokesperson Sami Abu Zuhri said Palestinians were glad Peres died.

“Shimon Peres was the last of the generation of cofounders of the Israeli occupation, and therefore his death represents the end of an era in the history of occupation and the beginning of a new era of weakness and retreat for the Zionist entity,” he said from his Gaza office. “We are sure the Palestinian people are happy at the departure of this criminal who had been involved in many crimes and in the bloodshed of the Palestinian people.”

Although in largely a ceremonial post, Peres continued to advocate for peace during his tenure as president.
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