A top Hamas official said Saturday that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was tantamount to “a Jew” for his participation in the funeral of former president Shimon Peres, Channel 2 News reported.
Mahmoud al-Zahar, a senior leader in the Gaza Strip, told Iranian TV: “This man who claims to represent Palestinian public opinion is by religious standards a Jew. For the millionth time: He doesn’t represent us, he is a creation of Israel and I hope he joins Peres in hell.”
There were unconfirmed claims earlier in the day that shots had been fired at Abbas’s Ramallah home in protest of his actions. But Palestinian and Israeli security sources said the reports were false and the result of rumors.
Earlier Saturday a senior PA official said Abbas had “no regrets” over his decision to attend Peres’s funeral in Jerusalem on Friday, despite coming under criticism for the move.
The unnamed official told Israel Radio that Abbas himself made the decision to attend due to his esteem for the ninth Israeli president, and not because of any external pressure to do so.
Abbas’s Fatah party backed the gesture, saying it was a “message of peace” whose aim was to show the world that the Palestinians are a peace-loving people.
But Fatah central committee member and former Palestinian intelligence officer Tawfik Tirawi did express his opposition to Abbas’s presence at the funeral, Army Radio reported Saturday.
“If they had asked me, I would have said clearly: I am in principle against participation, as this was the funeral of a Zionist who was soaked from head to toe in the blood of our Palestinian nation and other Arab peoples,” Tirawi said.
On Friday, the PA suspended a senior official for criticizing Abbas’s attendance.
Osama Mansour, who is a military liaison with Israel, posted comments on Facebook in which he blasted the president for going to the funeral in Jerusalem.
“There are no personal relationships or friendships with the occupier, so long as he continues his bullying policy against our people,” Mansour wrote, according to the Ynet news website.
After years without meeting, Netanyahu and Abbas shook hands and briefly chatted at the funeral.
Abbas’s attendance was approved by Israeli authorities a day before the funeral, and he and the Palestinian delegation drove to the cemetery from Ramallah.