Rare Israeli-Palestinian contacts a few days before Biden's visit

Rare Israeli-Palestinian contacts a few days before Biden's visit

This is the “first call” in five years between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has held talks with Israeli leaders for the past 24 hours less than a week before US President Joe Biden's visit to the Middle East, Israeli authorities said Friday.

< p class="e-p">Mr. Abbas spoke on the phone with Prime Minister Yair Lapid on Friday, hours after receiving rare contacts between the two camps in Ramallah in the occupied West Bank on Thursday evening.

The pair discussed continued cooperation and the need to ensure peace and quiet, according to a statement from the Prime Minister's Office.

Six months on their meeting in Israel, Benny Gantz traveled to the Palestinian Authority headquarters in Ramallah to see Mr. Abbas, the minister's office said in a statement.

“The interview was positive. They discussed civil and military coordination in the run-up to Joe Biden's visit, as well as security and civil challenges in the region […]. They agreed to continue their security coordination and avoid actions that could cause instability”

—Statement from the Office of the Israeli Defense Minister

Mahmoud Abbas stressed the importance of creating a political horizon between Israelis and Palestinians and the need to create a positive atmosphere ahead of President Biden's visit, the official Palestinian agency Wafa reported.

On the social network Twitter, President Joe Biden expressed himself looking forward to meeting the two leaders next week.

The American president is due to visit Israel and the West Bank, Palestinian territory occupied by Israel for more than half a century, from July 13 to 15. He must meet in particular with Yaïr Lapid and Mahmoud Abbas before going to Saudi Arabia.

Washington greeted Friday, by the voice of the national security adviser of the White House Jake Sullivan, the call between the Israeli prime minister and the Palestinian president, the first [interview] in five years.

In recent years, relations between Israel and Mr. Abbas's Palestinian Authority have soured as the peace process to resolve the conflict has stalled since 2014. The peace talks, under the aegis of the United States, had then failed because of the deep differences between the two protagonists.

Mahmoud Abbas and Benny Gantz, former Chief of Staff of the x27;army and at the head of the centrist Blue White formation, had met in December in Israel, which had sparked a lively debate among the Israeli political class.

Mr. Lapid's predecessor as head of the Israeli government, Naftali Bennett, then leader of the radical right-wing Yamina party, said he refused to meet Mahmoud Abbas.

At the ;Following a trip to Paris this week, where he met President Emmanuel Macron, Yaïr Lapid said he did not rule out a possible meeting between with Mr. Abbas while specifying that this was not a priority with the approach of the Israeli legislative elections of November 1st.

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