JERUSALEM (JTA) – Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will attend the funeral of former Israeli president Shimon Peres, but the chair of Israel’s Joint Arab List party said he will not attend.
Ayman Odeh said Thursday that he will not be going to the funeral the following morning, The Jerusalem Post reported. His party is the only one that did not issue a statement following Peres’ death early Wednesday morning, and no party representatives were scheduled to pay their respects at Peres’ coffin lying in state Thursday in front of the Knesset, according to the newspaper.
“The memory of Peres in the Arab public is different from the narrative discussed in recent years, and I realize such complex messages are difficult to hear a moment after someone died,” Odeh said in a tweet.
The Joint Arab List is the fourth largest party in the Knesset.
Abbas will be accompanied to the funeral with a delegation from the Palestinian Authority, according to reports citing COGAT, or Coordination of Government Activity in the Territories, a military unit that handles Israel’s civilian affairs in the West Bank.
Abbas’ office contacted the head of COGAT to coordinate the visit.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu approved the request for Abbas to enter Israel, Haaretz reported. It will be Abbas’ first official visit in Israel since September 2010.
The delegation reportedly will include PLO Executive Committee Secretary General Saeb Erekat; Minister of Civil Affairs Hussein al-Sheikh; and intelligence chief Majd Faraz, as well as former Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei.
Abbas called Peres, who died two weeks after suffering a stroke, a “brave” partner for peace in a condolence letter sent to his family Wednesday.
Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry reportedly will represent Egypt at the funeral. It is not known who will represent Jordan, the other Arab country with which Israel has a peace treaty.
At least 80 world leaders are expected to arrive in Israel to attend Peres’ funeral.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will lead the Canadian delegation which is also expected to include several former prime ministers including Stephen Harper and Jean Chrétien.