(Reuters) Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shook hands and exchanged brief words at the funeral on Friday of Shimon Peres, the former Israeli leader who won international acclaim for peacemaking with the Palestinians.
U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders gathered for the burial in Jerusalem’s Mount Herzl cemetery, two days after Peres, a former president and premier, died at the age of 93.
“Long time, long time,” Abbas told Netanyahu and the prime minister’s wife Sara, after shaking his hand before the start of the state ceremony.
Welcoming Abbas, as participants recorded the encounter on their cellphones, Netanyahu said of his attendance: “It’s something that I appreciate very much on behalf of our people and on behalf of us.”
But Abbas’s rare visit to the city, a short drive through Israeli military checkpoints from Ramallah, in the occupied West Bank, seemed unlikely to yield anything more than handshakes.