Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to wish him a happy Eid al-Fitr, the holiday that marks the end of the month of Ramadan, and said his country wants peace, according to a statement released by Israel's Prime Minister's Office Friday. Abbas reportedly called for an agreement within the year, Haaretz reported Friday.
Netanyahu told Abbas that the citizens of Israel want peace and that Israel will continue to act to ensure stability in the region, according to the statement.
The phone call between Netanyahu and Abbas marks the first time the two leaders have spoken in over a year. The last time they spoke was in June 2014, following the abduction of three Jewish teenagers in the West Bank. That call was initiated by Abbas, who said then that he condemned the abduction, Haaretz reported.
The conversation between Netanyahu and Abbas comes at a time of high tension between the two. This summer marked the one-year anniversary of the war in Gaza that killed 2,100 Palestinians and 66 Israeli soldiers. The Palestinian Authority handed over its first submission of evidence of Israeli war crimes to the International Criminal Court in a bid to speed up an ICC inquiry into abuses committed during last year's war. The Palestinian Authority joined the ICC this year.
Israel has vehemently denied war crimes were committed by its forces during the 2014 Gaza war and accused Hamas, the extremist military group that controls the Gaza Strip, of atrocities in firing thousands of rockets into Israeli territory.
"This is a Palestinian attempt to manipulate and politicize the judicial mechanisms of the ICC," said Emmanuel Nahshon, spokesman of the Israeli foreign ministry, last month, Al Jazeera reported. "We hope that the prosecutor will not fall in that trap."
Some analysts, though, think that the recent Iranian nuclear deal could actually spur peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.
Aaron David Miller, a former U.S. State Department adviser, wrote for the Daily Beast in April, months before a final deal was brokered, that a deal could force Netanyahu and Abbas to come to the negotiating table. But the odds were slim, he argued.
“In the best of all possible worlds, Obama’s apparent success with Iran would open new paths to Arab-Israeli peace,” Miller wrote. “But the Mideast is not the best of all possible worlds.”
Netanyahu has condemned the Iranian deal as a "stunning historic mistake."
"Israelis know better than anyone else the cost of permanent conflict with Iran and it is wrong to suggest that Israel wants such an outcome," Netanyahu told British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, the Associated Press reported. "But Israelis also know exactly what would happen if we ever let our guard down."