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July 18, 2015 1:13 pm

Netanyahu Calls Abbas in First Official Talk in More Than a Year

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Photo: GPO.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Photo: GPO. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas as part of a goodwill gesture to mark the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr.

According to a statement by the Prime Ministers’ Office, Netanyahu told Abbas that the citizens of Israel want peace and that Israel would continue to act towards regional stability.

Eid al-Fitr marks the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan and is generally marked with festive meals.

The call was the first official contact between the two leaders since they spoke following the kidnapping of three Israeli teenagers by Hamas in June 2014. But reports indicate that Netanyahu and Abbas have spoken several times secretly over the last few months. Those talks have led to several informal measures on both sides to ease tensions, including Israel slowing down construction in Judea and Samaria and the Palestinians halting efforts for unilateral international recognition, the Times of Israel reported.

Both the Prime Minister’s Office and the Palestinians have denied those reports.

“There is no truth whatsoever to these reports,” said chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat. “The Palestinian leadership will continue on its path of exacting a price from the occupation in the International Criminal Court on all matters relating to violations of international law and Palestinian human rights.”

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