Netanyahu, Abbas face criticism after funeral for Israel's Peres

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should not have shaken Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' hand at the funeral of Shimon Peres, Israel's justice minister said on local radio Sunday.

Ayelet Shaked, of the conservative Jewish Home party, told the station in an interview that she did not know what other action Netanyahu should have taken, but that she disagreed with the gesture.

Shaked is the latest figure to criticize how Abbas and Netanyahu interacted during the funeral ceremony in Jerusalem on Friday for former Israeli president Peres, who died last week aged 93 after a major stroke.

Education Minister Naftali Bennett, of Jewish Home, wrote on Twitter that he did not understand how Israeli leaders - which would also include President Reuven Rivlin - could shake Abbas' hand.

Abbas' Fatah party had even felt the need to justify the visit as a chance to raise "in front of the whole world that our people have the right to life and live in peace."

The Times of Israel newspaper reported Abbas was heckled at speeches Saturday in Bethlehem and at Birzeit University, near Ramallah.

Osama Mansour, a high-ranking officer in the Palestinian security forces, was suspended and later arrested on Saturday after criticizing Abbas' attendance on Facebook, Maan news agency reported.

Addressing Abbas directly, Mansour wrote that "there should be no personal or friendly relations with the occupier, as long as they continue with their arrogant policies against our people," according to a translated version from Maan.

Netanyahu and Abbas occasionally meet at public events, but the last round of talks between the Israelis and Palestinians failed in 2014.

Last update: Sun, 02/10/2016 - 16:03
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