Herzog calls Abbas after brother’s death, plans to meet soon
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Herzog calls Abbas after brother’s death, plans to meet soon

Omar Abbas, who had been treated at TLV hospital, succumbed to cancer on Thursday; Netanyahu also makes condolence call

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, right, meets with Zionist Union leader Isaac Herzog, at the president's office in the West Bank city of Ramallah, August 18, 2015. (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, right, meets with Zionist Union leader Isaac Herzog, at the president's office in the West Bank city of Ramallah, August 18, 2015. (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser)

Opposition leader and Zionist Union chairman Isaac Herzog spoke to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to offer him condolences on his brother’s death.

The two also agreed to meet in the near future, Channel 2 reported Saturday.

Abbas’s brother Omar died in Qatar on Thursday, with the funeral taking place on Friday. He had been suffering from cancer and had undergone treatment in Tel Aviv’s Assuta Medical Center.

Channel 10 said last month that Herzog and Abbas held secret talks during the 2014-2015 election cycle, during which the opposition leader agreed to cede the entire West Bank and East Jerusalem to the Palestinians as part of a future peace deal.

Herzog’s negotiator, former Labor party minister Efraim Sneh, and a Palestinian Authority representative who remained unnamed reached an agreement under which Palestinian refugees would receive financial compensation, the Western Wall would remain under Israeli control, and Israel would retain a “symbolic” military presence in the Jordan Valley, alongside Palestinian and Jordanian soldiers. The plan drew fire from Yair Lapid, the head of the opposition party Yesh Atid, who condemned it as a “dangerous and wrong” move.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) talks with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (R) behind Comoros' President Ikililou Dhoinine during the family photo during the COP21, United Nations Climate Change Conference, in Le Bourget, outside Paris, on November 30, 2015 (AFP PHOTO / POOL / MARTIN BUREAU)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) talks with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (R) behind Comoros’ President Ikililou Dhoinine during the family photo during the COP21, United Nations Climate Change Conference, in Le Bourget, outside Paris, on November 30, 2015 (AFP PHOTO / POOL / MARTIN BUREAU)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also called Abbas on Friday to offer condolences on his brother’s death, an Israeli official told AFP. Palestinian state media confirmed the call.

The official in the Prime Minister’s Office said Netanyahu called Abbas on Friday but that the conversation was “only to offer condolences.” No other topics were discussed, he said.

Relations between Netanyahu and Abbas are frosty, with the prime minister accusing the Palestinian leader of libeling the Jewish people last month after he made the unfounded claim in a speech in Europe that some rabbis had called for Palestinian wells to be poisoned. The Israeli leadership has often accused the Palestinian leader of promoting incitement against Israel in Palestinian media, thereby encouraging violent attacks against Israelis.

Abbas and Netanyahu shook hands at a climate summit in Paris in November, but held no significant talks.

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