Israeli, Palestinian leaders privately talk after five year silence

Israeli, Palestinian leaders privately talk after five year silence
Washington said it welcomed the conversations, the first of its kind between Palestinian and Israeli leaders in five years. 
2 min read
10 July, 2022
The leader of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas stressed the need for "political horizons" with Israel [Getty]

New Israeli leaders Yitzhak Herzog and Yair Lapid have had private phone conversations with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas - the first of its kind between Palestinian and Israeli leaders in five years. 

The calls took place on Thursday just days before US president Joe Biden makes an extended visit across the region. 

Abbas congratulated the incoming ministers for taking up their positions, according to a statement issued by the Israeli government, while Lapid and Herzog wished the long-serving Palestinian president a happy Eid al-Adha. 

The communications took place on Thursday during a meeting between Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz in Ramallah, the administrative capital of the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank. 

Washington officials welcomed the dialogue on Friday, as White House spokesperson Jake Sullivan said on Twitter that he “looks forward to the two leaders meeting next week”. 

Washington hopes that more ‘security cooperation’ in the region that includes Palestinian stakeholders will pave the way for further normalisation agreements between Israel and Arab countries. 

Since the Abraham Accords were signed between Israel, the UAE, Bahrain and Morocco in 2020, Palestinians have protested against the tide of normalisation which has left them out in the cold. 


Abbas, Gantz and the 'political horizon'

Six months after they met for the first time in Israel, Defence minister Gantz and PA leader Abbas got together on Thursday evening to prepare for President Biden’s visit to the region, according to Israeli authorities. 

“This rare meeting, taking place during Eid al-Adha, was meant to discuss civilian and military arrangements for the visit of US president Joe Biden,” said Gantz’s office in a statement released on Friday. 

“The meeting was positive, the two sides discussed security challenges in the region… and agreed on an immediate path forward for the visit, eschewing topics of discord,” continued the statement. 

Abbas stressed the importance of “creating a political horizon” between the Israelis and the Palestinians, all the more necessary before President Biden’s visit, according to Palestinian news agency WAFA

Biden is due to head to Palestine and Israel for two days on July 13th, where he is scheduled to meet all three before heading to Saudi Arabia.