A senior Palestinian Authority official was arrested Saturday, a day after he was suspended for criticizing PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s attendance at Shimon Peres’s funeral on Friday.
Osama Mansour, who is a military liaison with Israel, was arrested at his home in the West Bank city of Nablus, the Palestinian media reported, for posting comments on Facebook in which he blasted Abbas 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.
Mansour had confirmed his suspension, saying that he “had not intended to act in a shameful manner,” the Hebrew-language Walla website reported. He added: “I am committed to the decisions of the leadership in my capacity as a disciplined officer.”
Abbas sat in the front row at the funeral ceremony at the national cemetery on Mount Herzl, along with other dignitaries such as US President Barack Obama, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Reuven Rivlin and Britain’s Prince Charles. He was flanked by European Council President Donald Tusk and Hungarian President Viktor Orban.
The PA president’s participation was also met with criticism from his Fatah party’s rival, the Islamist terror group Hamas. The group, which rules the Gaza Strip and ousted the Fatah party in a violent coup in 2007, said that Abbas’s participation disregarded the blood of the Palestinian people.
Abbas’s Fatah party, meanwhile, defended the gesture, saying it was a “message of peace” whose aim was to show the world that the Palestinians are a peace-loving people.
After years without meeting, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Abbas shook hands and briefly chatted at the funeral.
The two exchanged polite greetings as world leaders gathered to pay their final respects to Israel’s Nobel Peace Prize-winning former president and prime minister.
“Long time, long time,” Abbas could be heard telling Netanyahu and his wife Sara in English. After Netanyahu shook hands with senior Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat, the prime minister thanked the two Palestinian officials for coming to the funeral, saying “It’s something that I appreciate very much, on behalf of our people, and on behalf of us.”
In a video uploaded to YouTube, Sara Netanyahu can be overheard telling Abbas she is “so happy” he came to the funeral. “I am looking forward to having you at our house,” she said. “Thank you for coming.”
Netanyahu didn’t mention Abbas during his eulogy for the former president, who died earlier this week at the age of 93, two weeks after suffering a massive stroke. US President Barack Obama, however, did, saying Abbas’s presence was a reminder of the “unfinished business of peace.”
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.