Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa paid his respects to former President Shimon Peres who passed away Wednsday morning aged 93 after suffering a major stroke.
“Rest in peace President Shimon Peres, a man of war and a man of the still elusive peace in the Middle East, ” Al Khalifa posted on his Twitter account. Aside from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, this is the first public reaction to Peres’ death by a leader of the Arab world.
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The surprise statement drew strong Arab criticism on social media. Many Arabs associate Peres with the wars rather than intensive peace activity and the Oslo accords with the Palestinians that earned him the Nobel Peace Prize.
Like most Arab countries, Bahrain does not have diplomatic relations with Israel.
Al Khalifa voiced his opinions against terror attacks of Israeli civilians.
When a terror attack took place in a synagogue in Jerusalem in November 2014, Al Khalifa posted on Twitter saying “This is a nefarious act and the Israeli response will only add suffering to the Palestinian people.”
Palestinian President Abbas posted a tweet in Arabic saying “Shimon Peres’ death is a heavy loss for all humanity and for peace in the region.” In addition, Abbas had sent also a condolence letter to Peres’ family, in which he wrote that “Peres had been partner to the ‘peace of the brave’ signed by former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat in 1993 and that he had striven for peace until the day he died.”
An Iraqi news site reported that a group of Kurds in the city of Dohuk in Iraq, put up a tent of mourning to mark Peres’s death. The Kurds said Peres assisted the Kurdish people and that his death was a big loss to supporters of peace in the world.
the Jewish state played a role in helping establish the modern Kurdish army in the 1960s. Sherzad Omer Mamsani, the Kurdish Regional Government’s first director of Jewish affairs, told The Tower in May that Kurds “have really a soft heart towards Israel.”
“While we have 23 Muslims and Arab countries around us, none of them recognized or supported the Kurdish existence, or the Kurdish idea, or the Kurdish identity, ” he explained. “Only Israel.”