(AFP) – Hamas welcomed the death of former Israeli president Shimon Peres Wednesday, calling him a “criminal”, while the Palestinian Authority made no official comment after the death of the Nobel Peace Prize winner.
In the Gaza Strip, a spokesman for the Islamist Hamas movement which runs the enclave said: “The Palestinian people are happy at the death of this criminal.
“Shimon Peres was one of the last Israeli founders of occupation. His death marks the end of an era in the history of the Israeli occupation,” spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri told AFP.
Tributes to the 93-year-old poured in from across the world, but the Palestinian Authority — born of the Oslo accords, of which Peres was one of the principal architects — remained largely silent.
The Palestinian Authority, based in the West Bank, is dominated by president Mahmud Abbas’s Fatah party.
The Palestinian news agency Wafa announced his death in a short news story but no officials commented in it.
Diana Buttu, former spokeswoman for the Palestinian Authority, tweeted “Peres was an unrepentant war criminal. Revisionist history won’t work.”
While Peres has been lauded abroad and in Israel as a peacemaker, many Palestinians view him very differently, citing his involvement in successive Arab-Israeli wars and the occupation of Palestinian territory.
He was also prime minister in 1996 when more than 100 civilians were killed while sheltering at a UN peacekeepers’ base in the Lebanese village of Qana fired upon by Israel.