Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas telephoned Prime Minister Binyamin
Netanyahu on Thursday to express his condolences over the death of his father
Benzion, 102, early Monday morning.
It is the third time this week that
Abbas has made a positive gesture toward Netanyahu.
On Monday night in
Tunisia, the PA president said that Netanyahu was his “partner for peace.” On
Tuesday, he and PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad sent Netanyahu separate
condolence letters. They were among the first government leaders to do
Communication between Netanyahu and Palestinian leaders is rare, even
though Ramallah is located just outside of Jerusalem.
relationship with the PA has been strained since he took office. The two
men last met face to face in September 2010. He has not met in person with
Fayyad since taking office.
The Palestinians have insisted that they will
not speak directly with Israel until it halts West Bank settlement activity and
Jewish building in east Jerusalem.
Israel in turn has called on the Palestinian
leadership to hold direct negotiations without preconditions.
on Thursday, Netanyahu received condolence notices from a number of Egyptian
officials, including Prime Minister Kamal al-Ganzur, its military ruler Field
Marshal Hussein Tantawi and intelligence chief Morad Muwafi.
has cancelled all of his diplomatic and political appointments this week so that
he can observe the seven-day mourning period for his father.
return to work on Monday when the weekly cabinet meeting will be held rather
than on Sunday.