Israel opened direct contacts with the new emergency Palestinian Authority government. Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni’s office said Wednesday that she had spoken to Salam Fayyad, the Palestinian Authority prime minister installed in an emergency Cabinet by President Mahmoud Abbas after Hamas’ seizure of Gaza. Livni was quoted telling Fayyad, a reform-minded economist, that Israel sees the split between the Islamic Hamas movement and the more moderate Fatah faction as an opportunity for “progress on various issues,” including peace. The conversation between the two formally ended an Israeli boycott of the Palestinian Authority imposed after Hamas took power in last year’s elections.
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