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Air warms between Israel, Palestinian Authority with rare phone calls

The phone calls from President Isaac Herzog and Defense Minister Benny Gantz to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas indicate a change of approach by Israel’s new government.
AWAD AWAD/AFP via Getty Images

In honor of the Muslim Eid al-Adha holiday July 19, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas received phone calls from Israelis of the highest ranks: President Isaac Herzog, Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Public Security Minister Omer Bar-Lev.

It was Herzog and Abbas' second conversation in 10 days. The first took place the day after Herzog was sworn in on July 11. The two of them are acquainted from Herzog's years as a politician. As chair of the Labor Party, Herzog tried to promote the concept of the two-state solution. According to news reports, Abbas mediated a long and positive phone conversation between Herzog and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on July 12, signaling a possible amelioration in bilateral ties.

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