Abbas Makes First Call to Netanyahu

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JERUSALEM, Israel - Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas phoned Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to extend Passover holiday greetings.

The PA president's first phone call since the installation of the Netanyahu-led government was described by staffers in the Prime Minister's Office as "warm and friendly."

Netanyahu reportedly spoke with Abbas about past cooperation between Israel and the PA, which he hoped would continue.

Abbas responded by saying that both Palestinians and Israelis must work toward peaceful co-existence.

Some Israeli officials believe the call indicated the PA president's desire to work with the Netanyahu government, despite ultimatums issued by Abbas last week, when he demanded that Israel abide by past agreements as a prerequisite to any future talks.

During the previous administration, former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert offered to cede virtually all of Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) and divide the nation's capital.

Former Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni led the Israeli delegation in secret negotiations with a PA delegation headed by former PA Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia.

Livni, head of the Kadima party, chose to sit in the opposition rather than join a unity government led by Likud party chairman Binyamin Netanyahu.

Source: The Jerusalem Post

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