Arab leaders in diplomatic balancing act after Peres death

Published September 29th, 2016 - 06:30 GMT
Former president of Israel Shimon Peres died Wednesday at the age of 93 (AFP/File)
Former president of Israel Shimon Peres died Wednesday at the age of 93 (AFP/File)

When the funeral of Shimon Peres takes place in Tel Aviv on Friday, the most powerful men and women in the world will be in attendance.

But whether Arab leaders will join the ranks of the great and the good is a thorny question.

Head of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas has made a request to attend the funeral, according to Israeli daily Haaretz. He’ll bring a entourage including the Authority’s Prime Minister Saeb Erekat and Majid Faraj, the head of the PA’s intelligence.

Arab leaders in Israel, meanwhile, were quiet about the death of Peres and many declined to attend the funeral, reported the Jerusalem Post. Ayman Odeh released a statement on Twitter exploring the “complex” legacy of Peres for the Palestinian people, by way of explanation for the lack of eulogy the statesman received.

From Egypt, President Sisi sent his condolences to Israel but will not attend, and Sameh Shakri, the country’s Foreign Minister, will be at the funeral. King Abdullah II of Jordan won’t attend, but sent his condolences and an advisor in his place.

Bahrain’s Foreign Minister, Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, meanwhile tweeted that Peres rest in peace – becoming the first non-Palestinian Arab to make an official announcement on his death.

And all the way in the Kurdistan region of Iraq, some held a service in memory of Peres. Kurdistan 24 reported that a memorial service was held in Dohuk for him. The website pointed out Peres’ praise of the autonomous region as a possible motivation for it.

Al Bawaba Staff

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