Regent’s University London’s Professor Yossi Mekelberg, Head of International Relations and Social Sciences, has been in high demand across the media as an expert commentator on the legacy of former Israeli leader, Shimon Peres.
Mr Peres, who was regarded by many as the last of Israel’s founding generation, was buried on Friday 30th September between two other prime ministers, Yitzhak Rabin and Yitzhak Shamir.
The ceremony was Israel’s largest gathering of international dignitaries – including Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Tony Blair, and Prince Charles – since the funeral of Rabin, Peres’s partner in peace, who was assassinated by a Jewish nationalist in 1995.
After conducting interviews on BBC national news, radio and France24, Professor Mekelberg wrote in Al Arabiya:
“One can only wonder what Shimon Peres, who passed away last week, would have thought had he known his funeral would present Prime Minister Netanyahu and [Palestinian] President Mahmoud Abbas with the opportunity to shake hands.
“The handshake did after all take place only a week after both exchanged verbal punches from the United Nations General Assembly’s podium.”
Speaking later to NBC News, Professor Mekelberg, added that Peres ‘was both a visionary optimist and a pragmatist Israeli patriot,’ and pointed to his pivotal role in establishing Israel's secretive nuclear program in the 1950s.
He continued: “For Peres, Israel's security and strength was very important and helped it negotiate peace from a position of strength
"From the Arab point of view, they will look at him with mixed feelings — part positive and some negative.”