Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas remains Israel’s “serious partner” for peace, Shimon Peres told AFP on Thursday.

Speaking a week after Abbas’s government scored a significant, if predominantly symbolic, victory at the United Nations, Peres said that despite his opposition to the move, “I still believe he’s a serious partner and a serious man and I have respect for him.”

Abbas has been mostly demonized by official Jerusalem since the UN bid, with Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman referring to Abbas as a “diplomatic terrorist.”

Peres went so far as to say that Abbas had displayed “courage not only by going to the United Nations, which I think — from the point of view of time — was the wrong time, but he stood up and said, ‘I am against terror, I am for peace.’”

The octogenarian head of state said that despite his attempts to dissuade Abbas, the PA president “felt he was abandoned by us, by America, by Europe, by the rest of the world, and he wanted to do something.”

Liberman remarked Saturday in the wake of the UN vote that “we are ready to move forward, but we do not know who represents the Palestinians — Hamas or Fatah.”