Defense Minister Ehud Barak phoned Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday to send his well-wishes on the occasion of Id al-Fitr and the end of Ramadan.
Barak's call follows a similar call Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu made to Abbas Saturday night, at the onset of the festival that marks the end of Ramadan. With no negotiations currently taking place between Israel and the PA, such calls at the top leadership level are infrequent.
A statement put out by Barak said that the two men discussed the situation in the region and ways to renew the diplomatic process between Israel and the Palestinians.
The diplomatic process has been stymied for months, and Abbas has threatened to ask for non-member state observer status at the UN General Assembly in September if nothing moves. Officials in Israel, however, are skeptical that Abbas would bring such a measure to a vote at the UN until after the November 6 US presidential elections, knowing that before the elections Abbas would face stiff opposition from the US, which would also likely press other countries not to support the move.
Shaul Mofaz, meanwhile, called Abbas on Sunday with his own holiday
“In these days of regional change and uncertainty, it is our
duty to create hope for both our peoples,” Mofaz told Abbas. “The fact that the
peace process is at an impasse serves the extremists on both sides and not the
desires of the Palestinian and Israeli majority.”
Mofaz said that it was
time to “move forward” and solve the differences between the two sides. The
Kadima leader and Abbas agreed to set up a face-to- face meeting in the near
future. Abbas canceled a meeting with Mofaz in June when the Kadima head served
briefly in Netanyahu’s government as vice premier.Jerusalem Post staff
contributed to this report.