JERUSALEM: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas shook hands and spoke briefly at Shimon Peres’s funeral on Friday in a rare public encounter between the two men, reports AFP.
The encounter took place as mourners gathered ahead of the funeral. It was believed to be their first handshake since a Paris climate meeting last November.
“Good to see you. Long time,” Abbas said in broken English, a video posted by Netanyahu’s spokesman showed. Netanyahu and his wife thanked him for coming.
The last substantial public meeting between Abbas and Netanyahu was in 2010, though there have been unconfirmed reports of secret meetings since then.
Abbas was given a front-row seat next to European Council President Donald Tusk.
He was making a rare trip to Jerusalem from his base in the West Bank city of Ramallah, joining leaders from around the world for the funeral of the Israeli elder statesman and Nobel Peace Prize winner.