FRESH AIR

UPDATES

Peres’ Funeral and his long-standing vision of a “new Middle east”

Oct 7, 2016 | Glen Falkenstein

Peres’ Funeral and his long-standing vision of a “new Middle east”
news_item/F160930ABG91.jpg

Former Israeli Prime Minister and President Shimon Peres’ funeral in Jerusalem on Friday, September 30 was attended by world leaders past and present, including US President Barack Obama, former US President Bill Clinton and Britain’s Prince Charles.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was joined in attendance by many Israeli figures, in addition to, notably, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and other prominent dignitaries from the Arab world. An unnamed senior Palestinian Authority Official indicated that Abbas, who was seated in the front row, attended due to his esteem for Peres and that the President had “no regrets” about attending.

The event was notable for bringing Netanyahu and Abbas publicly face to face for the first time since 2015, before which the pair had reportedly not met for five years. The two chatted briefly and shook hands, with Abbas overheard telling Netanyahu, “long time, long time.” Abbas’ attendance has drawn condemnation from Hamas, which stated that “Mahmoud Abbas weeps over the departure of a terrorist,” as well as objections from elements within his own party Fatah who have criticized his attendance. Abbas was accompanied by senior Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat.

While, controversially, many Israeli Arab leaders and Parliamentary members of the Arab Joint List did not attend the funeral, the Chairman of the Forum of Arab Local Councils Mazen Ghanem led an Arab delegation to the Peres Center for Peace this past week to express condolences, and commented:

 

“‎We have come here on behalf of all the [Arab] local authorities to participate in the deep grief of the Peres family. He believed in peace and equality, and the Peres Center for Peace says everything about this great person. We have come on behalf of Arab society-‎we undertake to continue to act in light of his actions for equality and peace.”

 

Another prominent leader in attendance was Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, highlighting the greater level of co-operation and dialogue recently evidenced in the past months and years between Egypt and Israel. King Abdullah of Jordan also sent a telegram of condolences.

Sheikh Khaled bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, the Foreign Minister of Bahrain, wrote on Twitter, “Rest in peace President Shimon Peres, a man of war and a man of the still elusive peace in the Middle East.”

Khalifa had only recently called on Israel to “react positively” to the Arab Peace Initiative during a speech to the United Nations, further stating, “We are entitled, and look forward, to the day when we see an independent state, living in peace and security, side by side with the State of Israel. I have no doubt whatsoever that the peoples of the region, including the Arabs and the Israelis, are eager for this day to come and look forward to this just and all-encompassing peace.”

In spite of many Arab countries boycotting the funeral, a number of national leaders were represented on the day, including Moroccan King Mohammed VI who sent his personal advisor and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who sent a deputy foreign minister.

The presence of these world leaders at the Funeral, and messages of condolence, while by no means representative of the large bloc of Arab nations not in attendance on the day, is nonetheless indicative of a wider, growing rapprochement between Israel and its Sunni Arab neighbours. This has been evidenced as of late with low to senior level diplomatic meetings between dual representatives in semi-official or informal capacities serving as an acknowledgement of now burgeoning dialogue and co-operation.

Peres, who for so long has advocated Israel finding a new place in the region and the building of a “New Middle East” in which Israel would cooperate with and assist the economic development of its Arab neighbours, would no doubt have appreciated that his funeral itself served as a forum for continuing the existing cautious steps toward the vision he espoused.

Tags:

RELATED ARTICLES


Israeli PM Naftali Bennett (R); Alternative PM and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid (C) and Defence Minister Benny Gantz  (L) (Photo: Noam Moscowitz / Knesset spokesperson)

Some key points to understand about the dissolution of Israel’s Government

Jun 22, 2022 | Featured, Fresh AIR, Resources
Image: Shutterstock

Unhealthy obsessions return to the annual World Health Organisation assembly – yet there are signs of positive change

Jun 17, 2022 | Featured, Fresh AIR
IAEA head Rafael Mariano Grossi briefs the press on Iran (Image: Dean Calma/Flickr)

IAEA Board rebukes Iran, Iran unplugs IAEA cameras

Jun 10, 2022 | Featured, Fresh AIR
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and head of Iran's Atomic Organisation Mohammad Eslami (R) speaking to media during a visit to Bushehr nuclear power plant, in the city of Bushehr, southern Iran, 8 October 2021. (Image: EPA/AAP)

New revelations: Iran apparently spied on the UN nuclear watchdog

Jun 2, 2022 | Featured, Fresh AIR
Al Jazeera's Ahmed Mansour (Screenshot)

Al Jazeera hearts anti-Israel terrorism (continued)

May 30, 2022 | Featured, Fresh AIR
Shireen Abu Akleh

Tragedy of journalist’s death exploited to intensify conflict

May 17, 2022 | Featured, Fresh AIR
Hezbollah does not hide its open affiliation with Iran - as these Hezbollah youth demonstrate - but the Middle Easterners are tired of the poverty, war and chaos that Iranian proxies bring to the countries they operate in. (Photo: nsf2019, Shutterstock)

Election setback for Hezbollah

May 21, 2022 | Update
Shireen Abu Akleh, the well-known Al Jazeera journalist who was killed during a firefight between Palestinians and the IDF in Jenin under unclear circumstances on Wednesday, May 11 (Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Controversy follows tragic death of journalist Shireen Abu Akleh

May 13, 2022 | Update
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Italian TV: "Hitler also had Jewish blood. It means absolutely nothing…the most ardent antisemites are usually Jews." (Photo: YouTube screenshot)

The implications of Israel’s recent spat with Russia

May 7, 2022 | Update
Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov hosts Iran's Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian in January: A new Iran nuclear deal would be a boon to Russia and allied anti-democratic forces (Photo: ITAR-TASS News Agency / Alamy Stock Photo)

Are the Iran nuclear talks deadlocked?

Apr 29, 2022 | Update
Supporters of Hamas and Islamic Jihad gather in Khan Yunis, Gaza, on April 8 to celebrate the attack on a Tel Aviv bar by Raad Hazem (Photo: ZUMA Press, Inc. / Alamy Stock Photo)

Incitement and the latest terror wave in Israel

Apr 14, 2022 | Update
A flyer for Naftali's Bennett's Yamina party in last year's election - in the end, it was his own party, whose candidates were handpicked by Bennett, that has been the Israeli PM's Achilles heel (Photo: Shutterstock, Roman Yanushevsky)

Israel’s diverse coalition government loses its majority

Apr 9, 2022 | Update

SIGN UP FOR AIJAC EMAILS

RECENT POSTS

(Source: Pixabay)

AIJAC welcomes Victorian swastika ban, and introduction of similar NSW legislation

Naftali Bennett (R), Yair Lapid (L) and former Israeli President Reuven Rivlin (credit:Haim Tzach / GPO)

AIJAC’s Ahron Shapiro and Ran Porat interviewed on Israeli political developments on ABC NewsRadio

Israeli PM Naftali Bennett (R); Alternative PM and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid (C) and Defence Minister Benny Gantz  (L) (Photo: Noam Moscowitz / Knesset spokesperson)

Some key points to understand about the dissolution of Israel’s Government

Former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay (Image: UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré)

Israel and the UN: How the world’s only Jewish state has been scapegoated

Image: Shutterstock

Unhealthy obsessions return to the annual World Health Organisation assembly – yet there are signs of positive change

(Source: Pixabay)

AIJAC welcomes Victorian swastika ban, and introduction of similar NSW legislation

Naftali Bennett (R), Yair Lapid (L) and former Israeli President Reuven Rivlin (credit:Haim Tzach / GPO)

AIJAC’s Ahron Shapiro and Ran Porat interviewed on Israeli political developments on ABC NewsRadio

Israeli PM Naftali Bennett (R); Alternative PM and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid (C) and Defence Minister Benny Gantz  (L) (Photo: Noam Moscowitz / Knesset spokesperson)

Some key points to understand about the dissolution of Israel’s Government

Former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay (Image: UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré)

Israel and the UN: How the world’s only Jewish state has been scapegoated

Image: Shutterstock

Unhealthy obsessions return to the annual World Health Organisation assembly – yet there are signs of positive change

SORT BY TOPICS