Leaders of Israel and Palestine talk on the phone for the first time in years

A brief statement from Lapid’s office said the two men “talked about continued cooperation and the need to ensure peace and quiet.”

Abbas congratulated Lapid on his appointment as prime minister, while Lapid conveyed his best wishes to the Palestinian leader ahead of Eid al-Adha, the Muslim holiday that begins on Friday, the statement said.

Palestinian news agency Wafa also reported on the call, adding that President Abbas expressed his desire for “peace and stability to reign in the region as soon as possible.”

Lapid’s predecessor, the right-wing Naftali Bennett, chose not to speak to Abbas during his 12-month premiership, while longtime leader Benjamin Netanyahu watched Israel’s relations with the Palestinian Authority deteriorate, and he reportedly spoke to the Palestinians for the last time. Leader of 2017.

Highlighting the changed approach of the current Israeli government, Defense Minister Benny Gantz visited Abbas at his office in Ramallah on Thursday evening.

During the meeting, the Palestinian leader “emphasized the importance of creating a political horizon [and] commitment to signed agreements,” Vafa said, referring to a series of agreements signed between the two sides in the 1990s.

A statement from Gantz’s office said the meeting discussed “security and civil coordination ahead of the visit.” US President Biden in Israel.”

In addition to Israel, Biden is also set to visit the West Bank next week, where he will meet with Abbas, the first meeting between a Palestinian leader and a US president since 2017. The White House hopes the meeting will help draw the line. in the face of the significant disruption in US-Palestinian relations seen under the Trump administration.

Earlier this week, Abbas traveled to Algiers where he met with Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, also for the first time in several years.

The meeting took place on the sidelines of celebrations marking the 60th anniversary of Algeria’s independence, Algeria’s state news agency reported.

Relations between Abbas’s Fatah Party, the largest Palestinian faction, and Hamas, the Islamist group that rules Gaza, have been strained for years. In June 2007, the two groups came into open conflict with each other, resulting in violence that ended the Palestinian Authority’s control of Gaza.

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