Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas called his Israeli counterpart Reuven Rivlin on Thursday to offer condolences on the passing of First Lady Nechama Rivlin, drawing fire from his rivals.
Rivlin died on Tuesday at the age of 73 after suffering complications from a lung transplant.
“His excellency offered his condolences to President Rivlin during the call and asked God to provide him and his family with comfort and patience,” the official PA news site Wafa reported
Jonathan Cummings, a spokesperson for Reuven, confirmed that the two presidents spoke on the phone.
Nechama Rivlin had suffered from pulmonary fibrosis, a condition in which scar tissue accumulates in the lungs and makes it difficult to breathe. In the years before the transplant, she had usually been seen in public with a portable oxygen tank, including at official ceremonies.
Rivlin thanked Abbas for the call and wished him happy holidays on the occasion of Eid al-Fitr, the Muslim festival that takes place following Ramadan, the Wafa report added.
Eid al-Fitr began in the West Bank on Wednesday.
The Hamas terror group slammed Abbas for offering his condolences.
“The PA president expressing condolences to the president of the Zionist entity on the death of his wife is a betrayal of our Palestinian people, a stab in the back of the families of martyrs and belittles their feelings,” Hamas spokesman Abdelatif al-Qanou wrote on his Facebook page.
Several world leaders have offered condolences to Rivlin since the passing of his wife, including US President Donald Trump, French President Emmanuel Macron and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.