Hamas slams ‘contemptible’ Abbas condolences to Peres family
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Hamas slams ‘contemptible’ Abbas condolences to Peres family

Terror group says it is relieved at death of former Israeli president, accuses Palestinian leader of disrespecting ‘blood of martyrs’

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

President Shimon Peres and Palestinian Authority head Mahmoud Abbas meeting in 2008 at the President's Residence in Jerusalem. (photo credit: Kobi Gideon/Flash 90)
President Shimon Peres and Palestinian Authority head Mahmoud Abbas meeting in 2008 at the President's Residence in Jerusalem. (photo credit: Kobi Gideon/Flash 90)

The Hamas terror organization on Thursday said a condolence letter that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas sent to the family of deceased former Israeli president Shimon Peres showed “contempt” for Palestinians killed by Israel and for the “suffering” of the Palestinian people.

Peres, 93, died early Wednesday morning two week after suffering a serious stroke. Over 70 foreign leaders, ministers, and dignitaries are expected to attend the funeral tomorrow.

Abbas was also planning to be at the ceremony which will be held at the Mount Herzl cemetery in Jerusalem.

Hamas spokesperson Sami Abu Zuhri said during a press briefing that the letter from Abbas “shows contempt for the blood of martyrs and the suffering of the Palestinian people.”

“The Palestinian people are relieved at the death of Peres, who carried out the massacre in Qana in Lebanon and other crimes against the Palestinian people,” Zuhri added, referring to an incident during the 1996 IDF Operation Grapes of Wrath in Lebanon, when Peres was prime minister.

On April 18, 1996, over 100 people were killed by IDF artillery that hit a UN compound where they were taking refuge during the fighting that erupted between between the IDF and Hezbollah against a background of increased Hezbollah rocket fire at Israel.

The Arab world has mostly been silent over the death of Peres, whose peace efforts are sometimes overshadowed by his early support for West Bank settlements and military operations while he was defense minister and prime minister.

While Abbas said he would attend, the entire Joint (Arab) List Knesset faction said it would skip the funeral, calling Israeli Arabs’ relationship to Peres “complicated.”

On Thursday, by contrast, Palestinian prisoners in the Meggido prison in Israel sent the government a condolence letter over Peres, the Hebrew-language Ynet website reported.

The letter, which was handed to the prison commander, was sent in the name of the 1,000 security prisoners held at the site.

In his letter to the Peres family, Abbas expressed his “sadness and sorrow,” and wrote that “Peres was a partner in making the brave peace with the martyr Yasser Arafat and prime minister (Yitzhak) Rabin.” He added that Peres “made unremitting efforts to reach a lasting peace from the Oslo agreement until the final moments of his life.”

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