Netanyahu places sympathy call to Abbas over brother′s death | News | DW | 22.07.2016
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Netanyahu places sympathy call to Abbas over brother's death

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu shook hands with President Mahmoud Abbas at the Paris climate summit in November, but they have not had talks since 2010. The two sides are at odds over how to proceed with peace talks.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu placed a sympathy call to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas Friday to offer condolences on the death of his brother.

Abbas' brother Omar was being treated for cancer in Qatar when he died on Thursday. A funeral was scheduled for Friday.

Netanyahu placed the call on Friday, according to an official in the prime minister's office, who added that the conversation was only to offer "condolences."

No other topics were discussed, he said. The call was confirmed by Palestinian state media.

The men have long had an icy relationship.

A handshake in Paris

Most recently, Netanyahu accused Abbas of libeling the Jewish people last month when he claimed that some rabbis had called for Palestinian wells to be poisoned.

The two men shook hands at the climate change summit in Paris last November, but there were no substantive talks.

The last serious conversation between the two men is believed to have taken place back in 2010, although there are unconfirmed reports of secret meetings having taken place in the interim.

The two sides have been deadlocked over how peace negotiations should even be set up.

Israel wants direct bilateral talks with the Palestinians without any preconditions. But the Palestinians say Israel has failed to abide by past agreements, so they want multilateral negotiations involving foreign powers.

bik/kl (AFP, I24)

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