Netanyahu and Abbas.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu placed a phone call Friday evening to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas as a goodwill gesture to mark the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr.
The premier told his Palestinian counterpart that the people of Israel seek peace and that the government would continue to work toward maintaining regional stability.
The conversation was the first between the two leaders since last year.
Eid al-Fitr is Arabic for "festival of breaking of the fast" of Ramadan, the holiest month in the Muslim calendar.
Netanyahu's phone call comes on the heels of speculation in the Israeli press that the premier has engaged the Palestinian leader in secret talks in a bid to dissuade Ramallah from pursuing actions against Israel in various international forums, including the International Criminal Court.
A top Palestinian official on Thursday denied reports in the Israeli press that Netanyahu’s emissaries are secretly meeting with senior aides to Abbas in an effort to calm tensions.
Saeb Erekat, the acting secretary-general of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s executive committee, refuted claims that the leaders are engaged in dialogue, with Israel reportedly eager to convince Ramallah to freeze anti-Israel measures submitted with international institutions.
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“There is no truth whatsoever to these reports,” Erekat said. “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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