Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas telephoned Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu this morning and wished him a happy Pesach. The telephone conversation was the first between the two since Netanyahu entered office as prime minister. Netanyahu reminded Abbas that the two men had cooperated in the past and said he was planning to do so again toward the goal of peace between Israelis and Palestinians.Abbas said that both sides must make moves to promote peace.
Netanyahu’s office said today’s conversation was initiated by Abbas.
Abbas’ office said the call was a gesture of courtesy to the new Israeli prime minister and it lasted a few minutes.
Sources in Yerushalayim said that the initiative by the PA president was testimony to his readiness to hold talks with Netanyahu despite relatively bellicose statements coming from Ramallah soon after the establishment of Netanyahu’s government.
Ties between the Palestinian Authority and Israel atrophied in the wake of Operation Cast Lead, the IDF’s campaign in the Gaza Strip at the beginning of the year.
Former prime minister Ehud Olmert, who made great efforts to close a deal with the PA before he left office, accused the PA of failing to reach an agreement. In the penultimate cabinet meeting over which he presided, Olmert said the Palestinian leadership lacked the courage to make the final steps towards peace.