It was only a brief moment, but the handshake between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will become one of the defining moments of the Shimon Peres funeral on Friday. Peres, who shared a Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, died Wednesday at the age of 93.

Direct encounters between the two leaders are so rare that their last meeting in 2015 was widely described as a "one-in-five-years handshake."

"Long time, long time," Abbas was quoted as saying to Netanyahu on Friday at the ceremony in Jerusalem. The Israeli prime minister responded: "It's something that I appreciate very much on behalf of our people and on behalf of us."

Soon afterward, Abbas was criticized by some Palestinians and others for his welcoming gesture. Social media commentators critical of Israel called him a "sellout," a "wolf in sheep's clothing," and one argued that "the Arab world won't be happy."

To some, the fact that the simple handshake was newsworthy symbolized the failures of peace efforts. Peres shared the Nobel Peace Prize in 1994 with former Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat for the Oslo Accords, a framework that launched a peace process that is now in tatters. Rabin was assassinated in 1995 by a Jewish extremist who opposed the efforts.

Despite their friendly encounter in Jerusalem on Friday, Netanyahu and Abbas have not directly negotiated since 2014, when the last official exchanges took place. The two leaders have also not held direct talks on controversial Jewish settlements in the West Bank since 2010.

Israel's Haaretz newspaper argued that the gesture would have little impact. "It is still unclear if the event will turn into an opportunity for an official meeting between the two leaders," the paper wrote Thursday.

In 2010, Netanyahu and Abbas met in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh for a peace summit, also attended by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in what would turn out to be their last encounter for years.

During the following five years, Netanyahu and Abbas were not seen during joint public meetings despite subsequent peace efforts that eventually collapsed.

After the two finally greeted each other at the World Climate Change Conference last year, both emphasized later that their encounter should not be overestimated.

"It was purely protocol, not a working meeting," Netanyahu said. "So we shook hands, that’s crystal clear. But we didn’t talk."

Their smiles quickly turned into a fierce political fight, with Abbas harshly criticizing Israel only hours later. "Our resources are being usurped, our trees are being uprooted, our agriculture is being destroyed," Abbas said.

In several instances, Israeli leaders and Abbas were at the same events but did not meet. In June, for instance, Abbas declined to meet Israeli President Reuven Rivlin in Brussels. Both Abbas and Rivlin were in the city at the same time by coincidence.

Earlier this month, Dutch lawmaker Tunahan Kuzu also refused a handshake with Netanyahu when the prime minister visited the Netherlands. Kuzu had reportedly pinned a Palestinian flag to his lapel.

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