28 October 2016

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Peres funeral briefly brings Israeli, Palestinian leaders together

Israeli and Palestinian leaders shook hands during a brief chat and U.S. President Barack Obama gently reminded them of the "unfinished business of peace" at the funeral Friday of Shimon Peres, the last of a generation of Israel's founding fathers, Reuters reports.

"Long time, long time," Abbas told Netanyahu and the prime minister's wife Sara, after shaking his hand before the start of the ceremony held in the "Great Leaders of the Nation" section of Mount Herzl cemetery, overlooking a forested valley, according to Reuters.

Netanyahu and Abbas have not held face-to-face talks since 2010. Abbas opted to attend Peres's funeral, making the short drive from nearby Ramallah, in the occupied West Bank, through Israeli military checkpoints.

Welcoming Abbas, as participants recorded the encounter on their mobile phones, Netanyahu said of the Palestinian leader's attendance: "It's something that I appreciate very much on behalf of our people and on behalf of us."

But there was no indication that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's rare visit to Jerusalem and the amiable words he and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu exchanged would lead to any movement in long-stalled peacemaking.

As UNIAN reported earlier, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko expressed his condolences to the leadership of the State of Israel, relatives of the deceased and the People of Israel "over the big loss of one of the founders of the State of Israel, a prominent Israeli statesman who devoted his entire life to serving his country."

Former Israeli president will be buried on Mount Herzl in Jerusalem. The main national memorial of Israel is located on this hill, which includes the main national cemetery of the country, where Israel's leaders and people who gave their lives for it are buried.

Shimon Peres died aged 93 on September 28.

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