Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas called Israeli President Isaac Herzog to wish him and Israelis a happy Rosh Hashanah on Tuesday.
During the call, Herzog emphasized the need for friendly relations and cooperation between Israelis and Palestinians to ease the recent uptick in violence between the two sides, according to an official statement from Herzog’s office.
“Both leaders expressed their hope that in the coming year, civil and security cooperation will be enhanced and quiet and security will be restored,” the statement read.
Four days ago, from the United Nations General Assembly podium, Abbas denounced Israel for operating an “apartheid” regime and giving its military “total freedom” to kill Palestinians.
On Monday, Abbas also phoned Defense Minister Benny Gantz to congratulate him on the Jewish New Year, the PA news agency WAFA reported. An official statement on the call was not provided by Gantz’s office, likely due to the holiday.
However, an Israeli official confirmed the talks and said the two also discussed the security situation.
During their call, Gantz noted the importance of maintaining security and public order in the West Bank during the holiday, according to Army Radio, and stressed the Palestinian Authority’s responsibility in that regard.
Reports also indicated that Gantz and Abbas discussed continued cooperation between the Israeli military and Palestinian Authority security forces.
It comes following months of rising tension in the West Bank and amid several violent clashes in recent days between Palestinians and police in East Jerusalem and in the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount.
On Tuesday, clashes between police and Palestinians in East Jerusalem broke out for the third night in a row. On Monday, police arrested 14 people suspected of rioting and causing disturbances in Jerusalem’s Old City, as Jewish pilgrims toured the Temple Mount.
On Tuesday, the pilgrimages proceeded without any “irregular disruptions,” though one 18-year-old East Jerusalem resident was arrested at the site for suspected incitement, police said. Additionally, a man in his 40s from central Israel was arrested on suspicion of incitement in a TikTok video.
Herzog last spoke to Abbas in July to wish him and the Palestinian people a happy Eid al-Adha, and to discuss US President Joe Biden’s then-upcoming visit to the region.
Gantz has been the main point of contact between Israel and the Palestinian leader since the current government took power in 2021. Their most recent meeting took place in July, to discuss security coordination ahead of Biden’s trip.
While the meetings have come under fire by right-wing members of both the governing coalition and the opposition, the defense minister has defended his meetings with Abbas by arguing that they were crucial for security reasons, adding that both he and Abbas believe in maintaining security ties in order to stabilize the region.